Monthly Archives: February 2010

Watch out vegetarians, this is a meaty post

below is a picture of a Luther Burger. Gaze upon it and weep. wow.

Whew. Made it to another weekend.

I’ve been working on a project that’s very product design- centric. That’s not to say that the other stuff I’ve done so far has no relevancy to design; that’s not it at all.
It’s just that this project in particular is exactly the type of stuff I did in studio. (Sorry, no details on what the project actually is. Let’s just say it is more conceptual, and involves a lot of sketching).
At Tech the SOP was to have periodic pin ups of our sketches and to get feedback from the class. So it was pretty refreshing to get to do just that with my manager today. But, of course, she brought in some new perspectives on how to do “Pin-ups: the P&G way.” Yuck, that sounds awfully corporate and dry. But it was actually pretty insightful.
Before we started talking about my sketches, she asked me what “Decision Criteria” I was looking for. In other words, she wanted to know what kinds of qualities made for a concept to be noteworthy in this exercise.
I think that this is a step that is usually skipped when having pin-up sessions. Too often, the designer just starts explaining his/her ideas, and then the peers just give feedback based on whatever strikes them. Favorites are chosen, sometimes arbitrarily, and good ideas can be dropped just because the “herd mentality” takes over after one person says something negative about a proposal.
The “framing” that we did only took a few minutes, but it made it very easy for both of us to figure out which were the best proposals to go forward with. I hope I can remember to do this with all my pin-ups both at P&G, and back at Tech (and then, who knows?). Bravo to you, Mystery Manager!
After the rundown of ideas and the inevitable bounce-ideas-off-of-each-other session that designers get so excited about, She had another tip from the book of “Pin-ups: the P&G way.”
We took a step back and noticed that there were some common themes in my ideas. So I put all the sketches on the table and put them in their naturally occurring clusters. From these clusters, the real concepts and opportunities were drawn.
Okay, so… the common theme thing happens a LOT in conceptual design… but the new spin was the “bucket.” That’s what the P&G term for the clusters is. It sounds kind of goofy, but I hear it from a bunch of different people.
But hey, I’m sure my love for Ckick-fil-a, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, and all things Atlanta are just as odd.

Whew. Big day today. And an exciting one, too. I love that energy and excitement that comes from collaborating . But now that it’s almost 6PM on a Friday, I’m excited to play some games on my PS2, go to the gym, and eat cereal while watching Huluat 2 in the morning.

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Concurrent projects and extension

I’m closing in on the end of my second month here at P&G, but I am getting an extension on my Co-Op term. Now I’ll be her through June. Which is awesome. As far as how I’m doing, one big difference from design school is that I have more projects going on at once (I had concurrent projects at Tech, but rarely two studio projects at once). I have four design related projects that I’m working on right now, with two or three more on deck.

All of these overlapping projects obviously means that time management is very important for everyone. Meetings and events have to be scheduled WAY in advance, because people are so busy. I have to schedule phone calls in advance!

One of the projects that I’ve been working on has just wrapped up. I gave a presentation on it to the Oral Care Design team and some outside designers. I think everything went pretty well. Everyone was very receptive to the work, and to my recommended next steps.

 Oh and since we’re talking about oral care design, check this link out. I saw it in the Skymall magazine the other day. Its pretty awful.

Group meet!

Yesterday I participated in a fun meeting.

“Health and Well Being” is the big umbrella for our business unit. Under that umbrella falls the categories: Oral care, Health care, Pet care, Feminine care, and snacks. (All this information is publicly available on Wikipedia and the March 2009 earnings release)

Anyway, once every few months all of the design groups under the H&WB umbrella get together. Yesterday was that meeting. Basically, each group presented what they’ve been up to and what their future plans were. It was very interesting to see how different each group was, both in design and organization. Of course, there were also a lot of similarities. I think many of the differences can be attributed to the different managing styles of each group.

Plus I got to meet a bunch of new people. It has been really cool so far to see how design has worked its influence into such a traditional company like P&G.  Don’t believe me? Check out the talk about the new Scope Outlast bottle design. And the design manager in in charge of that project sits about fifteen feet from me.

mastering the language

It’s a slow process but I’m getting the hang of it. There are so many buzzwords and acronyms and codes and titles and formats and procedures….   It’s a lot to take in.

I flawlessly dropped a P&G word (align- it means to agree) into one of my meetings today with someone without even thinking about it. It’s just such a different culture than what I’ve known (even design-wise). Of course the professional setting is a lot different from college, or even my previous internships.

*extra bonus! web exclusive content -> that picture of the snow was taken at midnight after only a half-day of snowing. As I write this, it is still snowing… and has been for three days. This Georgia native has had to learn how to drive in snow/ice very quickly.

more on research

Yesterday I participated (mostly observed) in a research session. I can’t go into specifics, but I will say that I wasn’t able to be in the room as the research was taking place, so I sat in an adjacent room and watched through a one-way mirror.

Woah. Major creeper.

 It was weird watching someone, knowing that they couldn’t see me. Especially since I half expected the mirror to not work. But work, it did. So participants would continue to look in the mirror to make sure they looked okay… and would unknowingly look me right in the eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more creepy.

But after all the researching was over, the team that was present (myself included) did a little debriefing to discussed what we learned that day. I’d say that this was the first time that I’ve been able to understand everything that was being discussed, and I was able to provide some useful insights. Go me!

But seriously, I’m glad I’m settling in to this position at P&G. The first few weeks were a bit like running around with my hair on fire… and it was only yesterday that the sizzling embers died out. Next week, the “Hair of Productivity” will grow unabated!

Pshh. Hair of productivity. What a weirdo.