Top 10 Portfolio Maria Casanueva

Whole Note

This was the first innovation project that I had ever worked on. Going into it, I had mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness because I was not sure how successful it would be. I realized quickly that with building connections with my teammates and having them understand my idea more, we would be able to come up with ways to further develop our prototype, even when we were told that the chances of being able to have a successful prototype would be slim due to the difficulty behind building it the way we wanted to. I was glad to see that even after the idea we had chosen was criticized and said to be improbable, we were able to come up with a very aesthetically pleasing, yet successful prototype. I learned throughout this experience that the creative process is not always easy, and many times there will be obstacles that may keep one from being able to develop an idea. Still, through teamwork and dimensional thinking, we were able to show that our product defeated the odds and we found new ways to make it work, such as using a plexiglass material with spacers between each disk to ensure that each disk would be able to spin, solving the original issue/doubt that was presented.

Straw Tower Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, while learning about the creative thinking tool of empathizing, we were asked to get into groups and complete a challenge in which we had to build the tallest and most stable tower/structure made out of bendy straws, tape, and other materials that were given to us. Additionally, two members in each group were given index cards with special instructions that were not allowed to be shared with the rest of the team members. These special instructions ended up being disabilities that were given to the chosen members. In my group, one student was mute, and the other was blind. I was aware of the mute team member in my group, but I was not aware that the other one was not allowed to see and was therefore "blind" until nearly the end of the challenge when she mentioned that she had no idea what it looked like. I learned during that activity not only the importance of empathizing, but also the importance of observation and how they go hand in hand with one another. This is important in innovation because when one is observant, they are able to create a product that empathizes with a certain audience. Yet, it is also important in society/life because it reminds us to stay observant of our surroundings and keep in mind what others may be going through before judging them as lazy, or unhelpful or other.

10 Days of Six Word Memoirs
"Hoy para mi, mañana para ti"

For the third set of the 30-day-project, I wrote six-word-memoirs that described feelings and thoughts that I would have throughout the 10 days. Trying to compile all of the thoughts and feelings that I would have throughout the day into six words was hard. I would have to be very observant to which thoughts and feelings were the ones that were most heavy to then be able to synthesize them into six words. I found this to be a really cool creative activity because it showed me how to organize my emotions and they gave me a deeper sense of self. The use of synthesizing in this activity made me realize that synthesizing is also important in innovation because often times, you have to bring different ideas together to make up a really novel innovation. Synthesizing is also important for use outside of the classroom because when we think about our day and try to determine whether it was good or bad, we have to bring all the events that happened throughout that day together and weigh the importance of it to then determine how it was.

Abstract an Elephant

When we were learning about abstracting in class, we were told that part of the process of abstracting was to bring something we know to its simplest form but introducing variations of it. The assignment that we were asked to do in class was to draw our favorite animal. Once this was done, we could only draw our favorite animal using a few continuous lines. We kept reducing how many lines we can draw this animal with until we reached drawing with one continuous line. I had drawn an elephant. By the end of this activity, my elephant barely looked like an elephant, but if one looked closely and really analyzed it they could see the elephant somehow. This activity gave me more insight on how to analyze and understand art more clearly but also inspired me to analyze innovations and see what they were originally inspired by.

Body Thinking Speaker Series

This speaker series on body thinking was the first speaker series that our class attended. I think everyone was a little confused at first, and a lot of people felt very uncomfortable throughout the activities. It's funny how in the beginning of the event, most of the students felt uncomfortable with the idea of moving around. Maybe it was because they were shy to do something such as stretch in front of people that they still didn't really know or feel comfortable with, or maybe it was just laziness. Irregardless, we were forced to get to know our bodies and use our bodies to get to know each other and learn to trust the people around us. Honestly, I still am not 100% sure about the full purpose of body thinking, but I realized that in using my body to "see" what was around me, I started to appreciate my senses of touch and smell and hearing a lot more. This activity "awakened" my senses and made me realize that there is importance not only what you can see, but what you feel. I've used this idea of body thinking since then to be able to read people that I meet for the first time and determine how strong of a connection I may have with them. I feel that in innovation, this would be an important tool for determining how much of a connection a customer could have with a product, despite the visual appeal.

Empathy Journal
"I was at Marston studying with a friend when this older woman started to talk to us about what we were doing out of curiosity. After engaging in conversation with her, she opened up about how a horse that she had was killed by the caretaker through purposeful starvation. She seemed so sad and confessed she was depressed. When asking her about why she didn't report it to the authorities, she said she would be charged too because the horse was under her name and she could not afford for that to happen."

Reflecting on this activity, I realize that this was one of my favorites. I've always been very interested in hearing what people have to say and often times I'm told that I am very easy to talk to and to vent to because of how good of a listener I am. Yet, doing this journal I became much more aware of what the people around me were going through and I found myself wishing I could find ways to help them rather than just lend a listening ear. I thought about their situations even days after speaking to them and although I never saw some of my subjects again, I wonder how they're doing. This journal helped me form a connection with each individual. I find this to be important in the world of commercialization because we often forget that our customers are real people too, and we treat them only as customers. On the other hand, if innovators were to empathize with their customers and build relationships with them, they would be able to better assist them and their customers would trust them more.

Creative Process

I enjoyed working on this assignment in class because I am a psychology major. I never imagined that Maslow would go into innovation or the creative process but after working on this assignment I realized that his hierarchy of needs really did apply. We first have to work on our basic needs and make our way up to being self-actualized in order to be successfully and fully creative. This makes sense because in order to meet some of those needs, sometimes we need to find creative ways to acquire them. This assignment helped me understand the design thinking process of innovation which includes being able to define problems and ideate solutions, but in terms of our needs.

Empathize with a Chair
"I love being used by you. Your warm back pressed against my chest keeps me warm and cuddly. When I am not used by you, I feel alone. I feel like I have no purpose. When you aren't around to move me from side to side or spin me in circles, I get so bored. I start to crave the adrenaline that you make me feel. I love listening to your voice and making you feel comfortable. I love making sure that your legs and feet get the rest they need. You make me feel like I have a purpose. I love being used by you."

As an in-class assignment, we were asked to empathize with the chair in which we were sitting and describe how the chair might feel about being used by us. My original thought was that the chair would be annoyed, but then I realized, it was made for this purpose. As humans, we are always wondering what our purpose in life is, so I figured that if we were giving these inanimate objects human characteristics such as feelings, we might as well give them the feeling that they have a purpose as well. Besides empathizing, I think we used the creative thinking tool of transformation in this activity, since we transformed a non-living object into one with feelings and emotions. I find this form of transformation to be humorous and a good method to relieve stress.

Creative Person: Albert Einstein

One of our homework assignments was on the creative person and how sometimes their creativity holds certain limits. I decided to do this assignment on Albert Einstein and his characteristics as a creative person. Something that many people don't know is that Albert Einstein, despite being a genius, was autistic. We learned in class that usually creative people are deemed as crazy one way or another or are shrugged off by society. It's not until much later that we realize that their work actually means something and we start to apply it in our lives. Albert Einstein was one of the greatest developers of our science knowledge, so I was very surprised when I found out that he had autism and that it limited him in his interaction with society and the way he presented his work.

Creative Place

During a class discussion on how place can affect the creative person and inspire creative ideas, it came to my mind how one of my favorite bands, Twenty One Pilots, used this idea of "place" in order to create their music. Their music has been deemed creative by anyone that has listened to them, whether it is liked or not. This is because they tend to sing songs with sad lyrics, but this is often covered by a happy beat. They do this in an attempt to bring awareness to depression and suicide and how often times, people that deal with these psychological issues cover themselves behind a happy face and it is unexpected that they need help. In this two person band, one person is in charge of the beat and the other person is in charge of the lyrics. The person in charge of the lyrics lives in Columbus, Ohio, a place that is often known as cold, dry, and can make someone feel depressed easily during the winter times. On the other hand, the person in charge of the beat lives in California, a place known for a lively population, sunny skies, and overall happiness and joy. These two people allow themselves to be inspired by the emotions that they feel where they live so that they can then inspire others. They are in a way empathizing with their audience and forming and recognizing patterns of how the creative place affects their moods and emotions.


Created with images by digitalphotolinds - "flowers chalkboard baby's breath" • karen2754 - "straws" • parth joshi - "memoir" • garlandcannon - "Water for Elephants" • Anemone123 - "blindfolded blind hair" • gbSk - "journals" • HALDANE MARTIN - "Stealth Chair, Designed by Haldane Martin, Photo Dook" • WikiImages - "albert einstein portrait person" • GigPictures - "Twenty One Pilots, Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms"

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