By Minji Gim, 2015 Fall Design Fellow

minji-gim
Minji Gim

1. You’ll be a better designer.

What I learned from my 3-month fellowship was not related to design. I learned to be a better designer by having the ability to sell an idea within 10 seconds and argue with a smiling face.

The Innovation Unit is like a startup company. It’s not a big team but you’ll be able to work with awesome people who have different areas of expertise. Once the team is happy with your idea, you’ll become a better designer.

2. No one will ask you to deliver coffee.

You’ll have opportunities and take responsibilities. No coffee delivery.

Screenshot of the Innovation Fund website. Photo: Minji Gim
Screenshot of the Innovation Fund website. Design: Minji Gim

As a student majoring in interaction design, I focused on the development of a website and mobile application by working directly with a developer. I always asked for feedback from the design team but there were moments when I needed to make a decision on my own.

3. You won’t have enough time to regret failure.

The weeks go by fast. It was surprising to see how quickly a Monday turned to Friday. I was working on several projects at the same time so I needed to juggle between what I want to do and what I needed to finish by the deadline. It was not easy to be realistic about managing time.

Sketches of the Innovation Fund Website. Photo: Minji Gim
Sketches of the Innovation Fund Website. Photo: Minji Gim

Also, there is nothing wrong with failure. We have a better word: iteration. When comparing the early work I did to the latest versions, it’s surprising to see how much an idea had been refined throughout the many iterations.

4. You’ll have the skill to zoom in and out your thoughts.

There were several brown bag talks I attended. Most of them were about explaining projects that have been deployed or projects that will be deployed soon. I realized that understanding a system is important, yet it is more important to see how it could be scaled up and what is the added value that keeps the system sustainable.

Set of icons. Created by Minji Gim
Icons created by Minji Gim.

As a designer, I realized that visualizing a system is a great tool to understand and think forward. It enables people to communicate more clearly by ourselves and also to each other. Therefore, I designed a set of icons to be used as a tool for people to present ideas. The team can simply combine multiple icons to deliver a more complex story in an easy and fast way without having to create new icons.

5. Things can be tough at the first , but you’ll eventually love the madness.

🙂

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