What I Learned in Creative Founder

I thought I can learn about interaction design + business, and I was right.

I took the Creative Founder class with Christina because I wanted to get into the user experience field. I love doing something that matters – to solve a real problem. I worked with two interaction major students, Daniel and Danielle, identifying the problem of an ageing population and designing a solution and business for seniors.

In the Creative Founder course, we ran simulated start-up companies and were encouraged to reach out to users, communities, and businesses that we wanted to work with. We presented 14 times in 14 weeks, and through the process, I completed the class “learning like a boss,” according to my team. Below is a list of five of the most valuable lessons I learned from the class.

1. Be powerful as a woman

I am usually nervous when I am presenting in front of an audience, so I learned how to relax and feel confident by breathing and doing power poses in 4–7–8 method. As a woman, I learned:

  • no body blocking
  • don’t use the word “girl
  • support the other woman’s point by nodding and replying to their points

2. Never assume but validate, then build

Before taking this class, I assumed that my design solutions for problems were satisfying all the wants and needs of all the people whom the design solution was aimed towards. However, I realized that a lot of people have different opinions and perspectives on how problems affect them, and that I should work with them in order to produce a good design. Interviewing target users is the key to success. They know what they need and what they want. Observation is very important too as users might say one thing but do another. With this feedback, you can validate your assumptions, then you can build a Minimal Viable Product for testing. Sometimes startups fail because they spend too much time and effort building the product before learning about their users and testing their MVP with their users. If the product does not work, maybe consider pivoting.

3. Evidence + Story

You always want to ask yourself, “Because…, So What?” Evidence based speaking (Because) is important, but knowing how to tell a story can convince people emotionally. Audiences might see a lot of data in your presentations, proving that there is something real about the problem you are trying to solve, but why should they care (So What)? Also, you do not want anyone to challenge the research you have done, so you would always want to put your detailed evidence in the appendix.

4. Learning from peers, as team

Having a team with diverse culture, gender, and majors helps bring different ideas and opinions together. One thing that ties us together is our passion about the same topic. I am new to IxD ideas or methods and I don’t know a lot of things. I observe and learn from what my team does and if I still do not understand, I am not afraid to ask. I learned to ask about what I can improve after each class so I can reflect on myself and do better next time. Teamwork can be intense sometimes when there is miscommunication or different quality of work. Working these out with teammates. and making decisions as a team with proper evaluation and pip, is a very important skill to have as a team player in future workplaces.

5. Learning business as a designer

Working in a start-up company, called Phil, sometimes I had to help with the marketing campaign. Because of this, I took on the role of Chief Marketing Officer in this class and I enjoyed the challenge. From this experience, I now have a further understanding of the process and reason behind the work that was done at Phil.

This class was the most difficult yet most rewarding class I have ever had. From understanding business industries to learning interaction design, I learned an incredible amount in a short period of time. This class is all about experience: I thought this, I did this, I learn this and what are the next steps.Too often we are not allowed to fail in class, but not in this class. Failing early often allows you to succeed in the ways that you never thought about. The methods I learned throughout the semester can be applied later in school work and the workplace.

I have nothing to fail, but everything to learn.