Here is my desk area in my study. For someone who feels such pride in being organised in all things work related, it is extremely messy and I often find myself sitting here for long periods of time trying to find ‘that document’ or ‘that photograph’. My study is tucked away in the middle of the house, with no natural light entering in. It also seems to have turned into the storage room since having our baby. Not only do we both have a desk in there but also a piano and two sets of clothing drawers that are unable to fit anywhere else. I have all of the equipment I need for it to be a successful space for personal learning. I have my devices (MacBook and iPad), my cameras, printer/scanner, paper, stationery and a large charging doc, but the area is such a mess that I wouldn’t know where to find each item without going exploring.
So, where do I begin when wanting to redesign this space? Carroll (p.15-16, 2014) describes design thinking as being ‘…an innovative, human centred approach to defining and solving complex problems… that encompasses active problem solving and believing in one’s ability to create impactful change.’ This encourages us to look at design thinking in relation to people rather than buildings or items, and focus on who is going to be the user of the space. In my case, when redesigning my desk area, I am the user and myself (and hopefully my grades) will see the impact.
When looking into why design thinking is so important, Brown (2009), ascertains that ‘society needs a new approach to innovation which aligns the needs of human beings and the natural world.’ Once again, focusing on the needs of human beings and ‘consumer experiences (Brown, 2009). Karatko, et al (2012), state that the design process allows us to then ‘play, display and watch the replay’ or enable us to process ideas, try them out, give and receive feedback, make adjustments and continue through this cycle.
With this in mind I thought about what I wanted to achieve from redesigning this space. I wanted (needed) to be more organised so I bought new folders to file paperwork and photographs away. Each of these folders needed to be labeled and dated so that I know where to look when in a hurry. These are stored underneath my desk so that they are easily accessible and have clip on lids that my daughter won’t be able to open without assistance. Likewise, everything stored under my desk is locked down or of no harm to my daughter. This instantly put me at ease in this learning space, as I know she can crawl around without getting harmed by materials I have close to the ground.
Kuratko, et al (2012), state that ‘design is the process that converts ideas into form, whether that is a plan of action or a physical thing.’ To cover both of these areas I needed to plan what to change and do it… and that is easier said than done. It took a full week to file away all of the paperwork I had lying around, and only then could I move on to sorting through the materials I needed to keep and storing resources that are not of current benefit or interest to me.
The next step was to create a visual goal chart for myself, so that I stay on top of my university work and general organisation of my desk area. I therefore created a canvas with a range of drawings on it. Each night, after completing some university work and tidying my area, I get to colour one area of the drawing in. It’s going to take me a long time to finish it (I stopped counting at 213 different areas), but I know it will create good habits in me if I continue with it. I also created a whiteboard calendar so assist in organizing our hectic lives. This works as a visual display for both my husband and I to use when committing to events.
I moved the printer / scanner out of the corner of my desk so that I have a designated space for my other devices and therefore room for paper and pen to jot down notes. I bought a large medicine ball to sit on so that I can move constantly, although so far I have been alternating between that and my swivel chair due to poor posture (on the chair).
I made my space homely by adding a few photographs of my family and created a playlist of relaxing music that will enable me to work but not get distracted (so far so good, although my relaxing music may be very different to the typical Mozart, etc).
Finally, I have allowed myself a ‘distraction space’. This is a timed space where I can have a break from the work I am doing. Whether it be playing a game online, drawing on some paper, sorting through photographs or checking my phone, I allow myself five minutes before getting back into it. I have also ordered an adult colouring book online and plan on using that when I need a mind-numbing distraction for a few minutes. I hope it comes soon!!!
Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Harper Business. p.37.
Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson. https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf
Scott-Webber, L. (2012). Institutions, educators, and designers: Wake up!: Current teaching and learning places along with teaching strategies are obsolete-teaching styles and learning spaces must change for 21st-century needs. Planning for Higher Education. 41(1), 265-277.