Week 6 @ MxM — Halfway there…

Before my move to London, I found myself panicking about my ability to live up to the standard of Made by Many, and I made it my goal to show them why they made the correct decision in picking me as their Design Intern. It has been my firm focus to take advantage of this excellent opportunity and try my best to wow everyone, and so far, I believe that I’ve done alright, considering it’s my first “design” job. One thing I didn’t really worry about however (and haven’t up until now) was the fact that I was leaving everything and everyone behind for three months to begin an entirely different life, a far departure from of a summer that would usually be spent in Scotland.

Until last week, this didn’t really bother me, as I even boasted a few times to various people about the fact that I wasn’t missing home. Yet over my last week, at the halfway mark of the internship, I’ve fully come to comprehend how much I do miss home.

It started with little niggling things, like my familiarity with London itself, and it took me a while to adjust from a 5 minute walk from my studio to an hour and a half commute into the city centre. But now I’ve started to truly miss everyone from back home, and whilst it’s not debilitating sorrow, last week it kept playing on my mind. This is not to say I’m not having a blast, because I am — I wouldn’t trade my position with anyone I know at all. I’m learning so much and I’m doing it in one of the greatest cities in the world, yet my reflection over the past week is that design is not the only thing I have learned a lot about in my time here.

The 6 weeks past have been a clear lesson in what it entails to leave behind the fantasy world of student life and join the professional world, even if only for a summer. The experience has taught me vast amounts, from adjusting to work within a more rigid, professional team space, to managing what can sometimes feel like quite a lonely time of life, despite living in the most populous city in the UK. Any testing time makes you question how you’re going to deal with it, but the thing that I am constantly reminded of when I think of home is that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and at the end of the day, I will be a more experienced, wiser person for it. Going back to university for a vital, final year no longer phases me, because I know it’s something that I be able to take on in my stride, and not fumble along in state of constant panic as I had previously envisioned. When I’m reminded of that, I realise that my remaining time in Dundee should — and will — be completely savoured living each day to the full — both personally and professionally.

Moving on from a note of soppiness, missing home in conjunction with balancing work has given me a newfound perspective on our own project. Focusing on productivity within the workplace, I know how it feels to be slightly distracted, with a mind wandering 600 miles north. It’s like method acting at its best as I start to live through the subject matter first-hand — having a meagre comprehension of the ways that people could feel unproductive in their workplace, I can now compare for myself the insights we’ve spoken about during our user interviews with what I’ve been going through myself.

During week 6, we finally used all these insights to plan out what we are going to test further. I won’t spill too many details (cause keeping you in suspense is much more exciting, right?) but we are looking more at how Artificial Intelligence can assist people in reflecting upon their experiences within the workplace, and how they can plan their day out more effectively based on their own insights. It sounds simple, but is in actual fact a mind-boggling task.

I am beginning to design an interactive prototype for various people to try out and for them to tell us about the features that they both like and do not like. I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback about our design so far, and how our users will shape the features that need to be developed more, and the features that need to be stripped back. It feels that we have come so far, yet everything we know about our product is subject to change, and that is both a frightening and exciting prospect. It is however, a feeling that I’m learning how to come to grips with.