Assignment 1 – Journal Blog Task

I often visit a local café not only on my weekends but sometimes during the week in an attempt to get some work done. The particular café is often busy, with people bustling in to get a coffee on the run or stopping on for a meal with friends.


As I sit at a chair by the bi-fold doors (see sketch) a lady interrupts my typing flow “excuse me, could you please pull your chair in a bit?” She’s referring to the lack of space to move freely in-between tables to get up to order her food. As I pulled in my chair a little bit further allowing her to push her chair out and escape.

Why could design thinking assist?

“Design is a vital part of the physical and digital spaces around us” (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby 2012 p.106-9) Design thinking has many different definitions and the concept of design thinking is not always clearly encapsulated. Rozzuke and Shute (2012) defined design thinking as an “analytic and creative process that engages a person in opportunities to experiment, create and prototype.” In the Designers– Think Big! video (Brown, 2009) included in the module the design thinking process was broken down into a series of steps which included:

  • Design needs to be human centred;
  • Designers need to have an understanding of culture and context;
  • Learning is done by making – prototype early; and
  • Include active participants.

When considering how the café could benefit from design thinking I started with the active participants; myself and the other customers visiting the café. By considering their needs, culture and context and what they would require from a café it was easier to see the design changes that could be possible.

With this in mind and the thought of someone still asking me to tuck in my chair for them to exit fresh in my mind, the design thinking process was becoming clearer. By answering the question what is my design brief? What question am I trying to answer the changes I would make became clear.

My design brief became: ‘How can this café become an environment in which people can move free flowingly without the need for a demise in customers’ numbers for the café?’

Design Thinking – Changes

When contemplating changes, I would make to the design of the café I thought about the context of other individuals in the café. The two that were present on the day of my observation were both social café customers and people who attend to work.

  1. The first design change I would make would be to remove one table near the bi-fold doors allowing more space to move freely between the tables for customers and employees.
  2. As noted during my hour visit, different groups of customers rarely combined at a share table. Although in principal this is a good aspect to have in a classroom to encourage different groups to mix in a learning space, when customers walk in they want a table of privacy or solitude regardless of whether they come in a group or individually. Either way the café would benefit from removing the share tables and adding more small tables for two or three patrons to sit at. This would allow for more customers within the café but also allow for privacy.


Brown, Tim. (2009). Designers – Think Big! . Retrieved from

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration : Transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.

Razzouk, R., & Shute, V. (2012). What is design thinking and why is it important? Review of Educational Research, September, 82 (3), 330–348.

3 thoughts on “Assignment 1 – Journal Blog Task

  1. Hi Angela,
    I read your post with interest and two elements gauged my attention. The first was the focus of a human centred design focus, as highlighted by Brown (2009.) This approach is of particular interest to me, coming from years working in the human services industry. I was also interested in your points about ‘privacy’ and ‘solitude.’ You have shown in your blog how they are relevant to a learning space but also, how this can be incorporated into any space to allow for learning to be integrated. Thanks for triggering my thoughts further in this really interesting designing learning spaces focus. Best regards, Lorraine.


  2. Reference for July 29th post

    Brown, T. (2009.) Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Harper Business


  3. Hi Angela,
    This is an interesting reflection. I can see that your suggestion would help with the flow of customers. I liked that way you include details from Brown’s video and the design steps. The concept of “protoype early” needs to be extended when we think about learning spaces and café spaces. It seems that sometimes we don’t really understand the natural flow of people until we put them in a specific space. Involving “active participants” to share their experiences is helpful to get a better idea of how to arrange the space. I assume the café owners haven’t sat at the table you sat at for an extended amount of time to see how it feels.
    The same could be said for classroom spaces where teachers (much less the school’s administration or architect) haven’t sat where the students sit for an extended amount of time to really experience the space. Several times in meetings in classrooms after school, I’ve been unpleasantly surprised by background noises, or light pollution or the stuffiness of some classroom spaces. I found it distracting and uncomfortable – I was only ever there for a short time not for classes all day! It highlights Brown’s first point that “designs need to be human centred”.

    Brown, Tim. (2009). Designers – Think Big! . Retrieved from


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