July 18, 2017
First an update on why nothing has been posted on the blog. Frankly, after going through the arduous (at this stage it is truly arduous) task of editing and rewriting a post I’m tired of looking at it. Having lost its luster in my own eyes it’s hardly something I want to share with anyone else. It ends up in a computer file with a bunch of other unpublished posts. I don’t know how writers maintain enthusiasm for their work. Maybe that’s why they invented editors. Perhaps they knew if they didn’t writers would never turn anything in and nothing would ever get published. That would be the end of any and all publications: not book, no magazines or blogs. Nothingness.
That’s plenty about me. Let’s focus on you.
The Delft Design Approach
So you have an idea of what you want to do, but no idea of how to bring that idea to fruition. You’re entirely mystified on how to get started. The most likely reason you’re having problems is the form the final product or service is going to take hasn’t been visualized yet. The course Product Design: The Delft Design Approach being offered by the Delft University of Technology at EdX.org can help. I’ve just started the course, but I can already see how it can be applied in this area.
So let’s say you discovered there’s no soup kitchen in your small town. You want to change that and start serving breakfast and dinner. The first step is a thought experiment. You start by making a timeline of how you imagine you would carry out that service. You’ll want to include as much detail as possible. This needs to include the place you’ll be when carrying out the task, the items or tools you use to accomplish it, etc. The idea here is to make you aware of the resources you will need and discovering areas you’re not sure of and will need further research.
The image belowshows a timeline I started for the fictional soup kitchen. You’ll notice I also included questions I thought of as I wrote up the timeline. You can do that now or you can wait until you finish the timeline and then study it to ascertain any questions that arise. I kept it fairly simple, but even with just a few items on the timeline I was already thinking about funding sources, bookkeeping systems, the number of people I would be feeding, etc. If I was to continue on I’d soon figure out I’d need a filing system for the receipts, a place to store the uncooked food, pots and pans large enough to cook the food, etc. That type of information will be a big help in getting you started on your new ministry.
In the previous image I wrote up a timeline from the perspective of one performing the service. The Delft Design Approach is about designing for the user. With this in mind you can also make up a timeline for a fictional homeless person who will eat at your soup kitchen. A portion of that timeline is portrayed in the image below. You’ll notice that timeline generated a different set of questions which may have never occurred to me if I had only focused on how I was going to perform the task. For instance, that they have to walk to the soup kitchen might never have showed up on the other timeline. It’s sounds like it would be obvious, but if you’re not homeless, than it just might not have occurred to me.
You’ll notice the second timeline includes images and emoticons. Images are used to help you visualize what’s going on and the emoticons are how the person feels at each step of the way. You could also them on your own timeline to help you get a better grip on how your new ministry would play out and how you feel about it.
There’s more to the Delft Design Approach than I’ve posted here. I think the timeline will help you start giving form to the call you feel in your heart. If you’d like to learn more about the Approach, you can enroll in the online course. There’s a $49.00 fee if you want to receive a certificate of completion. Otherwise, you can audit the course for free or a donation amount of your choice. Whatever you choose good luck and God bless!