Lab #3: Week of September 24

objective, preparation, what's due, activities, other notes

Main Lab Objective

Now that the 3-ideas presentation is over, each section will focus on preparation for the upcoming sketch model review. Your section should work towards identifying three promising concept direction or variations within the team's assigned idea area.

You should also look ahead to lab #4 since the sketch model review is on Thursday evening next week!

Preparation before Lab #3
Make sure that you understand the goals of the sketch model review.

Review the feedback received from the 3-ideas presentation. It is compiled for you on a single webpage on the idea's presentation results page (click the feedback links). You will probably want to further distill this into key points that will allow you to effectively review and discuss issues raised, while being careful to not overlook potentially valuable suggestions. Having the key points highlighted a page or two and printed for use in the lab can help the discussion. Note: Written feedback from instructors will be received by: noon on Tuesday for red and green teams, 5 PM Tuesday for blue team, and; noon Wednesday for all other teams.

Each lab section member should develop at least two concept variations within the team's assigned idea area. While the timing is tight for the Tuesday teams, it is really important to get the exploration process restarted before your team meeting. Prepare the concept variations on individual sheets of paper so that they can be pinned up, as was done in the brainstorming assignment, but the ideas should be more complete, focused, and researched (at least similar to the 3-ideas posters). Make sure that you have done enough research to be confident that the ideas have a degree of novelty and competitive advantage, and that there is a real, tangible need motivating the concepts.

For teams meeting on Wednesday or later, organize your section into appropriate task forces and begin gathering additional information relevant to the idea area selected for your team. This might include benchmarking, customer needs, market data, and observation. Be prepared to present a short summary to the team at the beginning of your lab. Tuesday teams will probably need to do this as part of their lab time.

The system integrators should prepare an agenda for the lab and make sure that the name cards are setup on the table before the start of lab. If you think that you will need AV equipment set this up before your scheduled lab period.

What's due
Your physical design notebook is reviewed during lab. Digital notebook submissions are due no later than 10 PM Thursday.

Recommended lab #3 activities

As a complete team (both sections together)
It is recommended that you begin with the two sections together and reflect upon your effort in the 3-ideas presentation, its outcome, and the team's idea area. This should be a brief discussion.

Teams meeting on Wednesday or Thursday should each task force that was assigned to gather additional information (see lab preparation above) take roughly 5 minutes to summarize their findings. It will be beneficial for the two sections to hear each other's background research. Teams meeting on Tuesday will probably not have had time to prepare this.

Close the meeting room divider and continue the lab with the two sections working separately.

As individual sections
Give your design notebook to your instructor so he/she can review it during lab.

Begin with the standard meeting startup.

Pin up the concept variants that you developed when you prepared for this lab. Discuss each other's ideas. If you feel that the variants from the pinup are not adequate, spend additional time brainstorming as a group.

Establish relevant selection criteria and pick three concept variants for further development, using a method such as a Pugh chart.

Divide your section into task forces to work on the three concept variations in preparation for the sketch model review, which is next week. You will need to further develop the idea, prepare informative sketch models, conduct simple tests, and refine customer needs, benchmarking, and market data. Ideas need to be researched so that you have clear needs connected with real users, and so that you understand what competitive products may exist. You may also want to refer to the online sketch modeling resources on the course website, and on designy (cardboard and foamcore, polystyrene foam).

Use the remaining time to work. Remember to pickup your design notebook before you leave the lab.

Other notes:
The RPF training session is on Thursday. All financial officers are required to attend.

There is also a communications session next week on Monday evening for system integrators, who are expected to participate.

There is an information finding session with the course librarians next week on Monday evening. At least one section member per team should attend.