Creative Beer Evening! Blog Post # 4

September 21, 2014

Those that attended my meeting:

  • a high school teacher
  • a nurse practitioner
  • a retired railroad worker (my grandfather)
  • an art store manager
  • an art store employee
  • a retired clerical worker

My grandfather, being the 86 year old social butterfly that he is, gets together with some people on occasion to chat, eat food, and drink some wine. I decided to merge my creative coffee morning -or rather beer evening- with his little gatherings, and brought some people of my own to add some diversity of backgrounds and jobs. My one downfall here is that I didn’t push for people to use Twitter, as only one of the members other than myself actually has it. As a result, it was mostly just informal chatter and excellent points about design (and some points not about design at all)!

1 My grandfather making a point

I started by asking the group if they had seen any new or meaningful design in any of the places they’ve been to recently. My grandfather, who was prepared for that, already had an answer for me. But his idea sparked a million other ideas from everyone else, so the creative beer evening truly commenced. We talked about a new technology device at a local restaurant and whether it improved the service or not. It resembled a little iPad that a customer can order drink refills, appetizers, desserts, pay for the meal, and play games on. The waiter or waitress must still come around to take the initial drink orders and to take the main entree order.

My grandfather, the retired railroad worker, who initially brought up the idea, did not care much for it. For one, the screen was too small for him to read what was on it. Also, he had questions about the menu that the apparatus could not address. He far preferred the social interaction that comes with going to a restaurant and being served by a waitress. The art store employee, in which many others agreed, thought the new device was a great addition, especially for young families. Though the games cost money, about 99 cents, she said it was worth the dollar so the kids have something fun and interactive to do while waiting for their meal. Furthermore, the restaurant can get hectic during peak hours. This ensures that tables are not forgotten. It was a simple design change that really altered the way service was done at this restaurant.

2 The guy in the middle (art store manager) did not agree!!

This was simply the beginning of the conversation, and it sparked into a whole range of discussions:

  • how computers and the internet has radically changed the way the nurse practitioner records and stores information about patients, and how there’s less room for error
  • how state curriculum restraints has prevented the high school teacher from teaching in a specific way, yet how it inspired him to think outside the box and try a different approach (this was the design thinking approach I was familiar with, but the teacher was not as chatty as others, so I could not ask for more information about it)
  • how small design changes in the art store, the way it markets itself, and changing around it’s online presence has helped increase business in a time where online shopping is a threat to this store

3 My grandfather, the nurse, and the teacher

It was tough for me to steer the conversation in any one direction – everyone had BIG opinions and ideas. It didn’t matter in the end; it made for a truly creative evening in which my eyes opened up to things I hadn’t considered, especially regarding small design changes in occupations I’m unfamiliar with (specifically the art store workers and the nurse practitioner). This won’t be my last creative beer evening I participate in with my grandfather and his lot. They have so many different experiences and stories to share, both failures and successes, and it was wonderful to hear it all.





Entry Filed under: INF536. Posted in  INF536 .

4 Comments Add your own

  •    aus_teach  |  September 21st, 2014 at 9:33 pm     Reply

    What you have discovered is the wisdom in the room…especially the wisdom held by the elders in our society. The fact that you could not steer the conversation one way or another maybe points to the fact that you did not too. Or, try steering with questions, not comments. The joy of conversation. Thanks for your post which hints at the fact that we can organise these creative events in our own homes. 🙂

  •    Chantal Hochstrasser  |  September 21st, 2014 at 11:19 pm     Reply

    What a neat idea for a gathering and having a totally eclectic group of people would have added another dimension (even if you couldn’t ‘direct’ the conversation per se). I love that you had the opportunity to mix with such diversity of ideas and opinions.

  •    rmasaoka  |  September 22nd, 2014 at 11:21 am     Reply

    Very creative take on the assignment! I think you have definitely brought together people who may not ordinarily mix. Great stuff!

  •    Matt  |  October 5th, 2014 at 2:31 am     Reply

    First up – love the idea of a creative beer evening. Right up my alley!

    What jumped out at me when reading your post was that although small, the range of participants at the table. It sure did seem to bring a new wealth of ideas to the conversation. It’s important to get a range of ideas from the “fringes” as when these clash the viewpoints of people from a more ‘normal’ vantage point, interesting tangents emerge.

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