INF536 Assessment 1 – WiFi roll out

Response

A. I work for a Government Department in WA, so have little ability to modify the physical space without a large amount of committee meetings. We have many problem spaces, which we can do very little about. The physical computer lab is a training area is functional to a point, but very restrictive in its configuration. The key issue was the lack of internet connectivity for more than 12 people in the room as it is an Ethernet connection (hard cable) to our LAN (local area network). The problem with the use of LAN is that the external clients could not plug in and use their own devices as they were not authenticated against our Departments security protocols. Many of our clients bring in their own computers so they can work ‘live’ in their own online environments, as we only had the LAN available they wither could not use their own computers or had to provide their own 3/4 G connection to the internet. Though it is a technology issue it is one that impacts on the space as we can’t change the physical configuration of the room nor have more than 12 participants.

B. In the fast paced world we live in the design of spaces, especially learning spaces, must be forced to become flexible to keep up with the world we live in, such as in my example of the problem space of internet ‘dead zone’ for external clients. However as Brown said in his Ted talk, design is too important just to be left to a designer, because small design is the result. Small design came about because of consumerism and if you consider now the design thinking approach design become a two way street with participants rather than consumers. It is extremely important to bring in the human and cultural element in the design thinking process. The design thinking process is important as it gives us new ways of tackling problems. It allows us to explore multiple and new options that have not been open to us before. Linking that back again to my example internally the key stakeholders were not ‘seeing’ what the external clients needs were. To bridge that lack of awareness we canvassed as part of our session evaluation process if they would like access to Wi-Fi. This data provided a supporting case for the phased approach outlined later in this posting.

So let’s have a quick look at my personal thoughts on the characteristics that anyone needs to become a good designer, to see a project from conception through to completion:

  • Creative thinking – The ability to think outside the boundaries or the ordinary.
  • Project management – A good understanding of project management and the fundamentals of seeing a project through to fruition.
  • Curiosity – The ability to explore which leads to understanding. This separates the wheat from the chaff
  • Networking – Have a wide professional network across the globe that will help keep them informed of trends.
  • Context – the ability to bring idea’s to the table that is relevant to the client, local culture and trends
  • Global awareness – Understanding how the global market impacts on clients and their market places
  • Talent – It has to be said that there is a need for talent in a designer. However a less talented designer but one with a good solid background in the above points will be a better choice as they will look at the wider picture.

Design in learning spaces I feel can lean on the prototyping phase or play phase (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby 2012). This could simply be that a pilot test group in involved to evaluate and inform bigger design choices on your space.

C. Phased approach to implementation (based on client requirement surveys).

Phase 1

Firstly we trialed ‘4G hotspots’ to prove a proof of concept, which of course demonstrated that the flexibility of the space meant that we were not tied to a ‘chalk’ and talk sage on the stage presentation style computer lab sessions. This meant that finally I was able to:

  • use the large round table at the back of the room for brainstorming design sessions (see flicker image);
  • have more than 12 participants in the room for training;
  • participants could use own devices for training (as they were familiar with them; and
  • class space could be reconfigured from a formal classroom style to café style seating when required.

Once the test pilot phase was over (lasted 6 weeks) we had enough data and participant feedback to take a formal business case to the Senior Leadership Team for approval to implement Wi-Fi across our site.

Phase 2

Implementation of site wide Wi-Fi access for external clients and corporate devices. This roll out has meant that I am able to have technology enhances sessions, while not having to book the computer lab (which is not always available). It has achieve a greater site wide flexibility of teaching and training spaces with 100% approval from our client base.

The next big trial of this will be a major training event later this year where we will be combining both online and face to face sessions. This event is now only possible because of the small modification to the training environment – the implementation of Wi-Fi. Further expansion will be to general staff for personal BYOD, but that is still a way off due to policies having to be created.

D. – Comments on other people’s blogs (links) – please note not all these comments are on the Assessment 1 blog post purely because not everyone has released their Assessment 1 posting.

Comment 1

Comment 2

Comment 3

Bibliography

Kuratko, D., M. Goldsworthy, et al. (2012). “The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking.” pp.103-123

TEDGlobal – David Kelley. (2012). How to build your creative confidence. [Online Video]. Mar 2012. Available from: http://www.ted.com/talks/david_kelley_how_to_build_your_creative_confidence. [Accessed: 21 July 2014].

TEDGlobal – Tim Brown (2009). Designers – think big!. [Online Video]. Jul 2009. Available from: http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_urges_designers_to_think_big. [Accessed: 21 July 2014].

7 thoughts on “INF536 Assessment 1 – WiFi roll out”

  1. Third blog I’ve visited Yvette and each one has been so different. Your problem could have been defeated without an attempt by the government department aspect of your work place. Not only have you convinced people to participate in a design process, you have also delivered a workable solution. Well done!

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback.
      It is always a challenge trying to keep spaces in any space up-to-date and functional, more so when working in a public building that houses a Government Department!
      Cheers YVette

  2. A fantastic effort …. What a challenge! The above comment has summed it up well. Your solution is creative and appears practical. Again, well done!

    1. Many thanks for your feedback. Using a test pilot methodology first as a proof of concept was what gave us the advantage in this situation and would recommend a test group, test pilot, prototype as a key part to the implementation of a design in any area.
      Cheers

  3. Hi Yvette,
    I really enjoyed your post, the way you framed the problem and the actions that you took to do the proof of concept. I have been a visitor to one of the Department’s over in the West and can certainly relate to a lot of what you are saying and the challenges you are taking on.
    It would be great to get an update later in the year on how you are progressing.

    Cheers,
    Jerry

    1. Jerry,
      Thanks for your input. Watch this space for further updates as the year goes on with how we are progressing towards our big face-to-face and online event at the end of the year.
      Yvette

  4. Like the others, I think it’s useful to know the constraints you’re under, and the great idea you’ve developed to overcome it. Nonetheless, it feels quite a chunky process, mapped out rather than prototyped. It would be really interesting to see a subsequent post or two which shows how the plan is evolving based on the reactions of people and their actual use. Otherwise we might come to the conclusion that the initial idea was mapped out at the beginning and ‘delivered’ through phases, rather than prototyped and adapted throughout the process.

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