All this sector mapping, the empathising, and the benchmarking have led to a much clearer idea of who I am as a creative professional. It has also provided me with a clearer idea of the problems that Making Sense can address; I think I'm now ready to define what I am about to move forwards with. As I'm about to lay out this newfound definition, I'm keen to revisit how I was initially expecting to define this at the end of 7401, and now, to show just how much more extensive but broadly relevant this is to my wider sector, and target audience. The old definition? - A toolkit that spotlights the role our senses in creativity. The new definition? - A toolkit that champions the role of strong organisaiton within modern creative freelancing. Interestingly, I've also noticed that a key theme of identity has bubbled up fiercely through this process of empathy and analysis. This was something I too had expressed issues with in relation to my own practice at the very beginning of Groundwork (MD7401) as I looked back over my freelance practice to date. Then, during Groundwork, I'd almost immediately moved beyond this and focused the rest of that process on exploring the idea of multimodality in creativity (the modes being media formats, and our senses.) However, over the last few weeks these first steps in the Design Thinking process has enabled me to hit the rewind button to travel back my very first post in this R&D blog (for MD7401) and this time proceeding with a much clear understanding of the sector it is entering it's become much clearer what the real value proposition of Making Sense is. This new definition shift has resulted in a template for Making Sense that is going to explore creative identity, organisation, structure, and even promote sustainable practice. ...and all the while it's going to celebrate the entire ecosystem of mixed creativity:
(Okay the old 'toolkit for multimodal creativity' tagline also needs to go, but I'm working on that!)
But hopefully with this more confident and bold example above, its also clear that I'm beginning to exercise my recent reconciliation with effective marketing techniques (as per my ramblings a few weeks back about the need to creatives to reclaim this!) as I recently started to explore mockups for marketing resources (for MD7403) in response to findings from my target audience surveys. Then, switching the hat from product to practice, recent functional benchmarking efforts have seen me sizing myself up against examples of Systems Thinkers, which has enabled me to get a better sense of what my profile looks like from this angle. It's quite different; It's neater. It's also very, very exciting. So this is what I am going to move forward with - a professional practice that is concerned with unified creativity, and a product that strives to normalise and add structure to this for the wider creative community.
Next, I'll be moving into an iterative cycle of ideation, prototyping, and testing, which marks the beginning of my real-world project for the Fieldwork process. This real-world process is going to see a wide range of creative freelancers who are going to use early drafts of the Making Sense cards to explore the kinds of creative briefs they work to within their own practices, to explore and identify how structure can be provided to any creative no matter the makeup of their skillsets. (As I'm now beginning to understand through my analysis of Systems Thinking - it's about the connections between the dots, not the dots themselves)
"All too often, good ideas die on the vine in the absence of people with a personal commitment to making them happen." Jeanne Liedtka, Why Design Thinking Works, 2018.
However, at this point in time, outside of the 5 anticipated core categories that have been sat patiently waiting to be tested, the cards are indeed still blank. In order to kick this off, I will be opening up the process of drafting the first version of the cards by utilising an incoming real-world project brief that just recently I have been (inadvertently) provided with. This process will help me populate a first draft of the Making Sense cards - V0.1 - which will then immediately move over to the first participant in my design trials for the public project. ...and this will be happenning very soon, so updates to follow!