About MxD

MxD is not a method to follow strictly, it is based on different inputs and interpretations. Every participant has unique values in his/her style, his/her way to do things and his/her own ways to think. These characteristics of the designers create the possibilities of the product.

The MxD method shows some material to work with and provides a certain way to approach problems, but not how to solve these problems, that is on the group of designers. This fact indicates, that for similar tasks, the outcome would be different every time, if you change the team or even just some team members. The team members choose and bring the materials that turns the general ideas to possibilities. And with every conversation in this group of designers, possibilities change, because of the diversity of the team. But MxD is more than being creative and process ideas within a group of designers.

What differentiates Management by Design from Design is the main purpose to create value. Turn ideas into design or products is very important, but turn ideas into value is the MxD goal. MxD creates a vision to follow, with an economical background and innovative ideas.


How to not limit your creative-phase @homeoffice

The movement starts:


Working together on one project but separated by a huge ocean. Many companies have to face this problem everyday. Maybe you are a freelancer working on Bali for a company in America. Or you are a student whose brain is fried, working over a prototype with your colleagues. But what happens if, triggered by a crisis, a war or maybe just because of a cough, we are not able to go to work? How can we still finish our team-based-projects and help to keep the economy stable? And how can we provide everyone with their relevant data and share our thoughts in real time just like in the office and let no creativity pass away?


The Setup:


When you think about creativity, what is important for you? If you compare your thoughts, you will see that everyone will need something else. The situation and the project you are assigned to will tell you in what kind of environment you can work the best. Of course we can say, working in a natural light will help you to stay focused and so on, but what works best for you might not work as well for your colleagues. Think about your experience. When have you felt creative the last time? Where was it? In which surrounding was it? Have you been listening to music? All those questions will help you to set up your perfect creative space(es). 


Bye Bye, Mr. Lasercutter-Guy


Now if you found your “Magic Place”, we need to think about the question: “How can I work on that prototype without being where the magic happens? At first, when you think like this, read the first paragraph again. The magic happens where you are! So grab your colleagues into a skype-call and start to plan how this could work out. 

Don´t set roles (e.g: documentation) for the whole project, just for the tasks need to be done today or the next, near deadline. Today you feel like you are not in a good mood for writing everything down? That's okay, Mike or Sarah don’t have a problem with this task today. And so you don't have to do what you thought will be a good idea one week ago. 

Maybe you will see that the things people do at work will change. The Lasercutter-Guy is not able to make precise cuttings through almost every material anymore, but starting to take part when a meeting is due. That's because we are all limited to the things we have at home or that are easy to get. No Lasercutter, no need for Lasercutter-Guy.


Use local and simple materials


Limited by the things you have at home will make it hard to build a prototype and share it with your colleagues. Work with the things you have at home. Do you have kids? Take their Lego to build on your ideas (also ask your kid about ideas and solutions - children are big dreamers!) Think about how you could use material in different ways. You don't have a drawing circle-pen but need to draw a perfect circle? Use a normal pen, a small piece of rope and you are done. Rebuild it with what you have. After building comes the sharing-part and we face another major problem. How to get the prototypes to the colleagues? How can they review on the prototype? Therefore it is possible to use a 3D Scanner. A 3D - Scan Application will use your mobile camera to create an original sized model. You can now share it easily and also set colours to the prototype and make it moveable in a digital way. If you want to work offline, there are people in the streets selling “Prototype @Home-Kits”. Those Kits provide you with different materials a manuals about how to build and think in prototypes.


Material Storage and Mobility

Our Team is in charge of the aspects „material storage and mobility“ in the context of our course „Management by Design“. Together we are working on improvements in storage and transportation for the materials, which are used by the students during the MxD Process. In the first phase, the empathy phase, which takes place at the beginning of our solution process, we try to gain as much profound insights of stakeholders as possible. We could gain some information through short and simple interviews. These first inputs came from our professors and through their opinions we were able to find problems and also possible solutions.

Our two questions:

  • How do we store the material so it can be easily moved to desired places?
  • How and where do we store the prototypes?

To get a better impression at the subject, we asked how much material is used by the students, how much it weights, which volume it has and which ones are the most popular. But also questions like where the materials are currently stored, how they are transported, why there isn’t any small vehicle yet and what the main problems are, where answered. The outcomes of the interviews were informative, contained much value and some possible solutions.

There are one big bag, two small bags and some cartons - these are bulky and not so easy to carry. According to our professor, the overall scope of the material in boxes and bags is 2x2 meters. Currently the bags are stored under a desk in the professors room. There is a small vehicle for the transport but nobody really knows who’s it is - very suspicious. There is also a storage room for all the materials but not everyone is allowed to enter. Playdoo is the most popular material but it’s also the most expensive. Pencils and post-it’s are quickly used up and have to be bought quite often. Same with scissors and tapes. Here it is important to differentiate between tools and consumable supplies. A big problem is the chaos after the students give the materials back, because they often don’t sort it properly. Furthermore, the materials often can’t be used again. One solution could be, that the diversity of materials is reduced. The optimum would be order or tidiness because it leads to a bigger offer and subsequently to a better result of the prototype. For the professor personally, it is not comfortable to push the small wagon because it leads to a feeling of stress and discomfort. The other professor, on the other hand, has no problem with it.

For example in D-school there is a fixed placed, like our storage room for materials, but with one difference - everyone is allowed to step in and take what he or she needs for the prototypes. Everything is organized in signed chutes. The students stick to the rules and put the used materials back in their place. A refutation here is serendipity. Because if there is only one big box where all the material is without much order, then the probability to find something you’ve never been looking for is much higher. As a result there could be very creative and never conceived solutions.

The desires from our professors in regards to the transport of the materials are that there is nothing to push and that they will magically appear in the preferred place - which is also called „magic appearance“. Specifications are, that the soon-to-be design has to fit through doors and the elevator. Wishes from our students are that there are more and different materials to selection: oasis foam, fabric, mechanical components, technology, glue, double-sided tape, metals, raspberry pi, NXT mindstorms and chalk pencils.

We also got thought-provoking impulses like for example the construction of a „suggestion-corner“, where materials can be shared. If a student doesn’t need his carton pieces anymore, he can bring it to this place and take something different from there. Afterwards another student maybe finds his carton pieces and can use them for her prototype. There could also be a rethink when you ask yourself, if we could move the room and not the material in order to have a new storage place for materials.

Now it is our challenge to select and improve the best ideas in order to fulfill the two questions.

Reload & Reset

Crafting a prototype is always a complex, time consuming work and you can use hours of figuring out every little detail and possibility of its use. But at some point, the prototype needs to be tested and all if a sudden the customer requirements have changed, far less budget than calculated is available or the test persons are just not happy with the prototype. What now?

The solution is “reload and reset”. Adapt major changes to a concept, business model or design often requires a bigger step than adding some features to your current prototype.  Restart your hole prototyping process can be far more effective to create in an innovative way and there will be a huge difference at the second start.

This time you got a great advantage starting a prototype, you already have gained some data through your first prototype which can be implemented in the second draft. Your first idea failed, but you can take a lot of learnings from it to improve the second prototype and rethink your ideas with the feedback you got from the early testers. Through this process you are able do create a new concept which includes the ideas from your customers, to create more accurate solutions for their problems.


How to funnel like MxD

Can you relate? You are talking with your group-members about a problem or the newest project. The basics and expectations have been communicated clearly so you can start thinking about a design. But as you have a team, you will get many different ideas for the “same” design. That's because everyone has different perspectives and approaches. Let's make an experiment: Ask ten people to draw an animal. Pretty sure you will get many different animal sketches as a response. It depends, amongst other things, on where a person got raised and educated. A person from the Antarctica will not draw a monkey or a lion. This simple fact, we will use for the first Brainstorming-Session.


We can create many different ideas in a small amount of time. If an idea is feasible or not, is not interesting at all. We want our team and the clients to dream big. When we begin the first Brainstorming-Session we try to sketch bigger ideas or directly prototype smaller parts. After the doing comes comparison. In order of asking questions about all the ideas, it is possible to see where problems could face up or if we need more or different data. With all this information we go directly into the second Brainstorming-Session. This time to combine all the different ideas and make them more tangible via new prototypes. We go from many ideas to only a few - we funnel them. Now it is important to find out if the ideas are possible to create with our resources and if not, how they could be realized.

Materialaufbewahrung und Mobilität

Unser Team beschäftigt sich mit den Aspekten Materialaufbewahrung und Mobilität im Rahmen des Studiengangs „Management by Design“. In der Empathie-Phase, welche am Anfang unseres Lösungsprozesses steht, versuchen wir, möglichst viele Einblicke von den Personen zu erhalten, für die wir ein Design gestalten. Durch unsere Professorin und unseren Professor konnten wir Probleme und im Weiteren auch Antworten finden, die sich rund um die Aufbewahrung und das Transportieren der Materialien für die Vorlesung drehen. Erste Inputs kamen von selbst, dann konnten wir durch kurze, spontane Interviews weitere Informationen sammeln.

Zwei große Fragen stellen sich uns:

  • Wie bewahren wir das Material auf, sodass es sich auch leicht an die gewünschten Orte bewegen lässt?
  • Wie und wo bringen wir die Prototypen anschließend unter?

Um uns einen tieferen Einblick in die Materie zu verschaffen, fragten wir, wie viele Materialien gebraucht werden, wie schwer sie insgesamt sind, welches Volumen sie haben und welche am häufigsten von den Studierenden verwendet werden. Aber auch Fragen, wo die Materialien derzeit gelagert sind, wie sie transportiert werden, warum es nicht schon einen kleinen Wagen gibt und was die größten Probleme sind, wurden beantwortet. Die Ergebnisse der zwei Interviews waren aufschlussreich und enthielten einige mögliche Lösungsansätze.

Es gibt eine große, vier kleine Taschen sowie mehrere Kartons, diese sind sperrig und schwer zu tragen. Laut unserem Professor ist der Gesamtumfang der Materialien in Boxen und Taschen 2x2 Meter groß. Derzeit werden die Materialien unter dem Tisch im Zimmer der Professoren und Professorinnen aufbewahrt. Es gibt einen kleinen Wagen, der verwendet werden kann, jedoch ist es fragwürdig, wem dieser gehört. Auch ein Materiallager besteht, das ist jedoch nicht für alle frei zu betreten. Mit Playdoo wird am liebsten gearbeitet, gleichzeitig ist es auch das teuerste Produkt. Stifte und post-it’s sind schnell aufgebraucht und müssen oft nachgekauft werden. Auch Scheren und Klebebänder sind beliebt. Hier gilt es zwischen Werkzeug und Verbrauchsmaterial zu unterscheiden. Ein großes Problem ist das Chaos, das entsteht, wenn die Materialien nicht wieder ordentlich sortiert und weggeräumt werden. Außerdem können manche von ihnen nicht wiederverwendet werden. Ein Lösungsansatz ist, die Diversität der Materialien zu verringern. Optimal wäre Ordnung, denn diese führt zu einem größeren Angebot und in Folge zu einem besseren Ergebnis der Prototypen. Für die Professorin persönlich ist es nicht angenehm, den Wagen zu schieben, es gibt ihr ein Gefühl von Stress und Unwohlsein. Im Gegensatz zum Professor, er hat damit kein Problem.

In der D-School gibt es zum Beispiel einen fixierten Ort, so wie unser Materiallager, bei dem jedoch die Studierenden freien Zutritt haben und die benötigten Utensilien für die Prototypen einfach selbst holen. Dort wird alles in beschrifteten Schütten gelagert. Die Studierenden halten sich an die Regeln und räumen die Materialien wieder an den richtigen Ort zurück. Ein Gegenargument ist hier die Serendipität. Denn in einem großen Fach ohne viel Ordnung ist die Wahrscheinlichkeit höher, etwas zu finden, das man vorher gar nicht gesucht hat. Dadurch können kreative und vorher nicht bedachte Lösungen entstehen.

Die Wünsche unserer Lehrenden in Hinblick auf den Transport von den Materialien sind, dass sie nicht zu Schieben sind und, dass sie einfach am richtigen Ort auftauchen - „Magic Appearance“. Vorgaben sind außerdem, dass das zukünftige Design durch die Türen und in den Lift passen muss. Wünsche von uns Studierenden an die Ausweitung der Utensilien sind: Steckschaum, Stoffe, Mechanische Bauteile, Technik, Kleber, Doppelseitiges Klebeband, Metalle, Rasberry Pi, NXT Mindstorms und Kreidestifte.

Wir erhielten außerdem Denkanstöße wie zum Beispiel die Einrichtung einer „Anregungs-Ecke“, bei welcher Materialien geteilt werden können. Wenn ein Student seine Kartonreste nicht mehr braucht, kann er sie an diesen Ort bringen und sich etwas anderes mitnehmen. Eine Studentin findet dann eventuell seine abgelegten Kartonreste und kann sie für ihren Prototypen mitnehmen. Auch ein Umdenken wäre möglich indem man sich fragt, wie man den Raum und nicht das Material bewegt.

Schon während der Empathie-Phase sprühte unser Team vor Ideen, wie sich unsere zwei Hauptfragen lösen lassen.