Thursday, September 6, 2007

Future of Retail in India: Categorisation of brainstorming information and model building

Image: The Iceberg Factor in Design Understanding
The "Iceberg Factor Model" was introduced to the students to make them aware of the complexity that comes into a design task when one takes into consideration the tangible and the huge set of intangibles that may at first seem to be ourside the scope of the traditional approaches to design. However when one looks at the flow of influences across all the identified sectors it is quite clear that in most complex situations these intangibles would indeed create a number of interesting points of reference along which the design team could differentiate their offering based on the discovered emphasis.

The three groups dealing with "Future of Retail in India" across the identified product categories of "Fresh Food", Provisions" and "Home Electronics" had a good deal of confusion in the ways that they could organise all the ideas that they had found in their brainstorming exercise. This confusion was reflected in their models and all groups were asked to take their models and meet at least five experts each by visiting the field situations and trying to clarify their data structure as well as the metaphor that they had arrived at in the review process.

Fresh Food Retail Group and their models

Retail of Provisions Group and their models

Retail of Home Electronics Group and their models

Some insights that were gained during the difficulties that were faced in the categorisation and modelling stage were discussed in class and each of the groups made presentations of their models to the rest of the class. The "Provisions" group would be given a chance to present their model in the next round of discussions which continued with vigour today as it did over the last two days of hard work.

Students are introduced to the process of clarifying concepts from the field and from their own prior knowledge base before venturing forth to do field research through direct observations and interviews to get a feel of the local reality context. The lecture by Prof Elizabeth Tunstall of the University of Chicage about anthro-design processes was a source of inspiration for the teams. The podcast can be seen at this link below.
Dori's lecture: Podcast on Research Methods

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