I'm not a born designer. Actually, come to think of it, I don't think anyone is a born designer. However, I do think people can have an inborn appreciation for good design. From my very early years, I seemed to have a strong leaning towards things that were better designed or better to experience. Perhaps it was my perfectionist streak coming through, but my mother tells me that I tended to gravitate more towards things that were simply better. I would avoid playing with building blocks that were too pokey for my little hands; I stayed away from little dinky cars with wheels that would get jammed instead of turning; I salivated at food that was more visually appealing and colorful; I smiled and got engrossed with pictures that seem to have some sort of balance in them; I preferred items that were easier-to-use or just more user-friendly (my only exception were teddy bears & stuffed plush dogs - I had (have) an unbiased appreciation and affection for all of them!). During playtime I would usually hold back on the little stuck dinky car, or the asymmetrical teddy bear, or the pokey building blocks, and let my friend have the better, easier, comfier, smoother toy. I suppose I felt like something that wasn't as well designed shouldn't detract from their experience with the toy, or take away from the joy of play.
You never too young to experience good design, never too young to appreciate design. While my journey into business design and design thinking may have only begun last year, I feel like my dedication and my passion for design have been brimming below the surface, ever since I was little. Does that make me a good designer? I think it does, because I certainly have a unique ability to put myself into the shoes of the user, and figure out if it really works for them, or they're just going through the motions, and whether they're just experiencing something, or truly delighting in that experience.
My passion for design led me to be a part of the Rotman Business Design Club (BDC), earlier as a First Year Associate, and now as a Second Year Director. Club activities are a great way to get involved in your whole MBA experience at Rotman, and a welcome break from the hectic pace of classes and careers. For me personally, it's been extremely fulfilling in terms of satisfying my own personal curiosity around business design, and exploring avenues through which I could get involved in it beyond Rotman. And it's been quite interesting to see it from the other side. As a member, you certainly appreciate all the events that the club executives put on to help you learn and grow. As a senior executive, you develop a much greater appreciation for the events, especially when you see all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make things work, and 'delight' our users. Fortunately, with the Business Design Club and Rotman DesignWorks, we have an amazing group of people, who are really dedicated towards helping students discover and understand the business design space.
The BDC allows me to get engaged in sharing its innovative, creative energy with curious minds, and helping them take it past colorful Post-Its to innovative solutions. The Business Design Bootcamp is always super-fun (and lots & lots of hard work & teamwork) as you not only learn more about Business Design and its three gears, but also put it into practice, by putting your user at the core of your process and better understanding them, in order to develop a product that better meets their unmet needs, and hopefully even wows them! The BDC Fireside Chat Series is always a great opportunity to engage with presenters on a more personal level, and get an inside perspective into their work. The Portfolio Series has been quite exciting in emphasizing the need to engage in the process of design thinking and showcasing that; it's also been an insightful challenge as I reflected upon my own cases and presented them in a clear, concise, convincing and conversational manner.
Aside from studying courses that I'm really interested in and curious about, and earnestly pursuing opportunities that embrace design thinking, I'm generally enjoying my second year at Rotman. It's not headless-chicken crazy like first year, but it's still hectic, exhausting and challenging. It's also more fun, as you develop stronger friendships, and get more comfortable with this intense roller-coaster. It also feels a little bittersweet, as you realize it's not too far off when this chapter of your life reaches its eventual conclusion. All you can really hope for is that the amazing friends and inspiring people you've met along the way continue to be in your life in the chapters ahead... :)