March 20th Reflection

The meeting started with videos of IDEO’s “Design for Educators”, Project H, and “The Independent Project”; immediately, we began wondering just what ‘design education’ meant.

Design for education, learning how to design, and designing one’s own education had been roughly the points of the three videos; we branched (perhaps unsurprisingly for MIT students) into the making of things, noting that it can be empowering as both a way of seeing and of acting, for individuals and communities.

Since the topic was rather hazy, we did not have time to finish a brief; however, the overall discussion seemed headed towards ways of presented a constrained design and construction problem to students and giving them a way to place the thing they’d made and the skills they’d learned into the community: whether through the design of musical instruments, a toymaking or crafts fair, or the opportunity to tackle consulting projects in the community, by analyzing bus routes and suggesting better ones, or by doing small engineering or design tasks that would otherwise have been contracted outside the community.

About us


The Design Forum is a place for MIT students and affiliates to practice ‘design’ more creatively; our concept is to iterate quickly over ideas with little to no regard for the later steps of the design process.

We meet on Saturdays at 1pm on the MIT campus. If you’re interested in coming to a meeting, add yourself to the list

For more information, please email us at

Our meeting format is in continuous flux; this post holds its current state, while posts below this are reflections from particular meetings.

media: 15m
discussion: 10m
brainstorm: 10m
criteria: 5m
combine: 10m
choose: 10m
develop: 10m
make: 10m
polish: 10m

prompter, timer, recorder

put the below onto cards, shuffle: deal each 2, they choose 1, and may trade.
use cases/audiences
use flowchart
use story
feature list
product feasibility
technical feasibility
sketches/concept drawings
design process
why it’s awesome
one–sentence description

Meeting 3 Reflections

An atypical meeting today; we discussed what this site should look like, chatted about weak AI and mirrored sculptures, and decided to explore the three ideas from the library below and spend next week’s meeting polishing one of them:

  • An oven that changes color when it’s on.
  • Weather Box – a tactile representation of outside weather, represented by a piece of granite that is heated or cooled to outside temperature, and films with water to represent precipitation
  • Cartop garden – a thin tray on the automobile’s roof (or attached in the sunroof) that can grow moss, etc. that helps keep the auto interior cool in parking lots and offsets CO2 slightly

Meeting 1 Reflections

  • The random-criteria evaluation wasn’t hugely valuable; we should try doing it in series (to make everyone look through different frames) and also try cutting it to see what difference it makes
  • We should make a blog page about how DEFO meetings are run.
  • It seemed fine to not have someone taking minutes, though it did hamper figuring out how we could be more time-efficient.
  • That said, we could have started some of our brainstorming earlier in the discussion process (by just writing things down while talking).
  • It doesn’t seem worth it to have the theme known in advance (though the person responsible for providing background material should be known).
  • After we finish testing the randomized evaluation, we should try splitting the meeting between two weeks; the first one spent brainstorming, the second developing the chosen idea.