Global Design Academy IDEAL CITY


The GDA supports individual creative people that sit outside the ordinary propelling meaningful change. I sit outside of the ordinary, in the way that I think and the way that I work. I may not have found my exact expression point yet but an experience like this would send me in a much desired direction. Nothing in my work is surface deep, to utilise creative thinking as a way to problem-solve on an international and social level is the fulfilling adventure I imagine I would dedicate my life to. I endeavour to innovate, implement change and spread joy and wonder to all four corners, for I am a global citizen. I have skills as a designer, two of the most important being empathy and wit. I want to improve lives through accessible and wondrous design. I think creative thinking is the real magic in this world.


Hoping to be introduced to new ways of thinking and how to apply those to large scale problems. I am also interested in learning how to work in an international studio.


I wonder how an ideal city can be defined. The task seems quite overwhelming I am curious to see how it can be tackled.


I started with toe dip.... what sorts of things do I need to know for a project like this? Who are the HKDI / DC / who builds cities / whats involved in well-functioning societies ? Thinking about how design is relevant to city building and how that impacts society. Is a city its people?

The 6th of June '19 marks our first meet and brief introduction/overview to the GDA / peers and the Slack platform. I have been placed into the much coveted 'Health' group.
Notes to familiarise myself with the Welcome Pack and the Brief.


Design Council : Inclusive Environments
Design Council : Designing a Future Economy
Design Council : Sarah Weir
Victor Papanek : DESIGN for the REAL WORLD
The 10th June Google Hangout meet and initial talk as MSoA, HKDI and DC.
Familiarising self with the Research Quest.


I feel excited to begin. If I'm a leader I should make summary and establish rules of operation...and think about what we need to get done before the week.


Plans for and notes from. We have established a PoA and bonded. Worked out the way we work best and what is important to us. We want to have fun and develop our practices. We have established what sort of blog we will do together and how we will communicate in that. We talked about what we would like to do and how we might overcome potential obstacles with HKDI. And how to work through the internet given different summer schedules! A warming start to the day.
The collated document of questions and terms we agreed as a group for the quest.
Interviewing guidance.
Collaborative document ready to record us as a group in terms we agreed on.


First I went to two parks in Salford; Langworthy Park and Clarendon Park. What was immediately fascinating is there were no people in either, despite it being a lovely day. I chose these two parks because I live very close to them.

At first I panicked and thought gosh I can't complete the quest if no one is there but then thought this is not non-data. How telling of urban life for the every man is Langworthy Park.
Here are images from my adventure. I did feel uncomfortable and confused but it is well maintained and it was warm, which has an impact on how I look back on the trip.
So I found from this part of the quest that engagement can be measured in a positive, negative or passive way.
Images from the quest.


July the 9th meet. Discussing plans for the weeks ahead, how to promote good connections and create a welcoming environment whilst being tolerant of other peoples ways of thinking. It is important now to start pulling the research together and it has been stressed that visual representation is important. So I am planning a logical structure with graphics.
I want to communicate the surroundings / present my research and I am just trying to find the best way to do that without overloading everyone. I think I need a grid.
Grid research.
Looking for inspiration on how to present findings, how to build a visual identity for our group (studios Ino.nica , Odotoo , Aiga) .


I found these excerpts relevant to this project.
Looking at what a creative ecology is.
Icebreaker Thursday. Very exciting day meeting HKDI. Overview of MSoA by Joe. Wonderful activities arranged to get everyone comfortable, such as Pantone Hunting. Absolute hoot. It was also great to eat together twice. Students gave the tour which was fun. Feel more comfortable and enthusiastic and less nervous, exciting to see what skills everyone is going to bring to the table.
Notes from the day and research into JB who is leading the workshop week.
Working at presenting research in a simple way, so if there are certain language barriers they can be overcome. I also wanted to give a general vibe, not just a pie chart. By letting people experience something more closely you can better understand and approach change. I included my second visit to Clarendon Park.


Pre-academy meet to talk through our slides one last time!
Presentation notes.
Health Team WOO!

Great seeing everyone together, there is a real buzz. Today we presented our research and got familiar with the Design Council and design thinking methods (double diamond , design horizons, (new terminology) , rose thorn bud amongst others). After sharing we pooled our research together to contribute to each others design spheres. It has helped us all be less precious I think and think differently about our ideas and general approach. It was interesting to see that cultural barriers came down and we all were forgetting where we were from as finding such things in common with the quest and becoming more confident with each other. I felt nervous at the beginning of the day but as I type this up now I feel a general buzz of excitement and feel so fortunate to be in a room with such talented and wonderful thinkers, it is easy to relinquish control and panic when everyone holds the brief in the same esteem, we are feeling safe with each other and that is wonderful and is the solid foundation for wonderful and promising collaborative work.

After gathering Izzie and Jakes data I compiled this visual presentation of the observations, trying to give a feel for our findings rather than an essay for the HKDI girls to digest.
We used these stickers as part of an exercise in democracy and favourites. I think with my different nail colours they make for an aesthetically pleasing colour palette and I would do well to remember this. We all ate together post day which was a nice bonding exercise and good to de-brief on the day with humour.
Fruits of our labour, out 'cover story'. The Optimist is a play on 'The Economist'. We made the cover relate to growing due to positive connotations of pace of development and care and love. Also amusing was research (some) was conducted in Seedley in Salford ("Salford and the good seeds"). We talked about the best way to visualise and grab attention, with illustrative and visual communication knowledge we make a very strong team which is exciting! Where will the week take us!!
Notes from today.

Our problem statement so far is how might we optimise physical and mental wellbeing in any place. With a tag of "make any place an every place." We got to this from the life changing exercises. Our homework is to familiarise ourselves with stakeholders and compile research that may flow from the tasks set out today.


Today we focused on generating ideas and got to grips with understanding who we are designing for, stakeholders. Methods we used today were mind mapping and alternative worlds to help think of ideas and solutions. We then developed our ideas using T-Bar sketches and applied our strongest ideas to the benefits matrix. I feel like the benefits matrix is a tool that will stay with me forever. It is a fantastically fair way to work in a group and lets you see your idea in a logical way, thinking about aspects possibly not thought of before (from quick wins to HI ROI). It is today I came up with three possible ideas the 'physical job ladder' 'see understand achieve' and 'chip away with chats'. At the end of the day Jonathon asked us if we thought we had gone far enough and I don't think we have. I feel like our ideas so far exist now ( to an extent ) and I feel at a design camp for future thinkers we should think bigger. The group agrees we haven't found our big idea yet. Its great having the problem statement because its giving us direction. I have to say it is quite nice not always focusing on and putting pressure on each other and ourselves for the eureka moment. Through the journey of applying the different creative thinking methods we are expanding our minds and I feel guaranteed to stumble across an exciting avenue to go down. It is a sort of fail-safe.

Images from the activities today. We then had twilight lectures after the day of design with two PHD students. It was interesting to see how they approach their research / projects.
Notes from day 2.
When I got home I deconstructed what we had done so far to try and think of a new idea, it came.


Today I shared the idea I came up with last night to the group and it was well-received. We developed this idea today and all added components we felt it needed. We then rose thorn and bud-ed each others work. It was great to enter into discussion about each others work and through these discussions we addressed holes or points of contention and then as a group we then discussed how we would tackle these things. It felt great that the ball is rolling! We also learnt about the importance of prototyping and it was exciting thinking about our delivery. Also crucial to not overcomplicate it I think too. We need to say what we need to say and nothing more. Simplicity is key!

Today we made posters to help develop our idea ; story stimulus , concept poster and future concept. The process helped us iron out and add detail and structure where there was none.
Notes from today. I feel excited that we can start thinking about how best to visually communicate our idea. We have talked about what we might need and are all bringing what we can material-wise tomorrow! Exciting!
After camp we had a social evening and got fish and chips and played ping pong !


A paramount day in the week! Make make make! We brought in snacks to boost morale and separated tasks into three main areas and paired off in those to tackle each task. Everyone chose what they wanted to do task-wise which worked out very well. As a group we wanted it to be a fun day where we communicate clearly. We wanted the presentation to be interactive and engaging, to literally take people on a journey. You can have the best idea in the world but if you can't communicate it, it could slip through the net !

Action shots!
Theory behind the action.
Group drinks ! Great to let off steam !


The final day! It felt sad acknowledging the week has come to an end! It has flown by. We made last minute adjustments and decided on a fluid format for the presentation, as Jake rightly said if it's too rigid and we plan too much it will be stressful and not enjoyable! We added name badges to give a further element of entertainment. It was great to present to such a wide range of industry professionals, whose feedback is sending us in new directions with firmer footsteps!

Morning prep!
Team! Thrilled to have received a commendation from the DC. Will miss everyone a lot!
Notes on feedback from the professionals to guide us further!
Timeline / manifesto / brief notes.
The last supper. Wonderful to have a real sit down, chat and reflect on the week! And celebrate each other!
Dancing! MIF.

GOODBYES (for now) :

Grabbing that final chippy in the sun. TBC (we hope!!) .


Our team have mapped how they have felt throughout the project! I am yet to fully collate these images into a visually pleasing piece. SOON.


UPDATE : Due to the political instability in HK just now communications with HKDI are not open but Business of Design Week and collaborating with Design Manchester has the green light. Despite not working directly with HKDI it will be nice to hopefully catch the students on their home ground in December!