A pdf version of the syllabus as shown on MyWaseda Navi is available here:  DCC Waseda Syllabus 2017

Engagement (15%)

I will take attendance each week as one indicative measure of engagement with the course but do not enforce a strict minimum threshold for attendance for passing the class (although egregiously disruptive conduct, on the other hand, will jeopardize one’s prospects of gaining credit for the course). I understand that some students are juggling various commitments and personal burdens. I do encourage you to update me on your situation if you are contending with matters that impede your engagement with the class. Active participation in the class is much encouraged, and this part of the assessment will ‘incentivize’ that. Most importantly, attendance but explicit displays of disinterest or outright disruption of the learning environment of classmates will be appraised severely. I understand the pressures associated with job-hunting (‘shukatsu’). Please try to schedule interviews and the like outside class times wherever possible though and certainly not at the time of either the group presentation or the final exam. Companies worth working for will respect key academic calendar commitments associated with assessment items.


Final Examination

In 2017 this will be held in periods 4 and 5 on 25 July. A make-up exam in case of certified illness is possible but must be requested in a timely manner. For any SILS student needing to depart early for study abroad (such as to Australia) arrangements will be made but this must be requested well in advance and documented. Early or deferred exams cannot be arranged to accommodate personal lifestyle decisions (such as traveling when plane tickets are cheaper, routine internships, ‘circle’ activities and the like).

Group Project (35%)

Topic:  Space: Place: Name

Final product: A presentation in modified ‘1.5X pecha kucha’ format (30 slides of pre-fixed 20 seconds each = 10 minutes) + ‘a diary of an inquiry’ (format to be explained in more detail later) + ‘summary of findings’.

The project will develop over several stages, with detailed discussion in class of each one.

Stage 1 

In preparing for work on the group project please be sure to access the following material and closely engage with it. This initially requires solo effort but you should come together as a group as soon as possible too. You should get to know each other and also share and mutually affirm your understanding of the material, detailed below, that will inform your group work. You should also have an exploratory conversation about the kinds of inquiries you might make.

Stanford University’s materials on design thinking, developed by its founder Tom Kelley and put into practice too at his firm IDEO.

Central to the group task is their methodology for gaining insight through empathetic inquiry, outlined in understand mixtape. (the mixtape reference is a metaphor from analogue music days, as the graphics will soon make clear to you!)’s ideate mixtape will also be very useful for thinking about how you can effectively brainstorm with your group, both before heading out to ‘the field’ in pursuit of insights through observation and informal interviews and, most importantly, in sense of the rich material you gained through the fieldwork experience.’s Bootcamp Bootleg, which is also linked to on the lecture resources page as important material for our design thinking study, is another key resource. It is rather more extensive than in scope than our group task requires, so not all the discussed activities need be considered or adopted. However the stages of ’empathize’, ‘define’ and ‘ideate’ are important (as the links above partially overlap). The Bootcamp document has a valuable discussion of the importance of gaining insights from ‘extreme users’.

Stage 2: 

Here is a detailed elaboration of the topics and possible research tasks for each of the three ‘problem fields’ of Space, Place and Name, in communication design for Tokyo, that we are exploring this semester. There is one page on each of the topics, and the initial overviews that were distributed in class are incorporated. Each group is very welcome to explore their own lines of inquiry (that is a key feature of design thinking: discover problems through exploration) and to liaise with me on the direction you might take. There are plenty of suggestions in this document though to get you going.

DCC Project Overview II 2017 Elaboration


Stage 3

diary of an inquiry DCC 2017

Rationales (not all are applicable to your group project)

Maintaining a diary of work on a project is good practice for both individuals and groups. Various reasons that professionals – from computer programmers to architects and industrial and other designers – point out include:
– facilitating later recognition of individual contributions and responsibility
– a valuable resource if a project is suspended but restarted some time later, a record of agreements, consultations, inputs and decisions can be helpful of there is later disagreement
– lessons arising from the creative process can be identified and reflected upon
personal and team growth over time will become more obvious, enhancing self-confidence
– insights and questions that arose during a busy project that could valuably be followed up on afterwards are more easily captured at the time and re-activated later.
– Most things take more time than imagined so valuable for team members to be reminded of where their precious time went.
– Tracking necessary commitments of resources as they arise helps accountability, review, and more accurate future tendering for projects (better understanding of costs)
– Mapping points of dependence (what was required from others to realise the project) and therefore potential choke points, stages of hold-up risk etc, for which contingency planning might be needed.
– Finally, when a project entails qualitative research methods aimed at deep insight (as this one does), the diary will be a key testimony to the rigour of the process of inquiry.

Format: free-form.

Things to include:

It is important to document the means, extent and outcomes of inquiry, both of ‘desk research’ and ‘field research’. For the former, usual academic referencing will be necessary but we also want to go beyond that and document the process of research exploration itself too. For field research, we need to diarise sites of inquiry, the length and depth of inquiry (number of respondents, method of inquiry such as passive observer, informal or structured interview, active participant observer, etc). Importantly, there is a duty of disclosure here: if you are using people you already know as research subjects that must be declared (and avoided if possible).

Project diaries may document:

Initial understanding of the specification and scale of the problem, its importance, what outcomes were sought, complications & obstacles, dependencies, lessons, and most important from the viewpoint of self-reflective seeking of insight to users or creative problem-solving, how the problem came to be redescribed, re-specified and refined through the stages of initial deliberation, field inquiry, ideating (ordering and interpreting field insights, experiences), and then a repetition of that process in a more focused way.

Develop your own as you see fit, to best communicate what you did, achieved, and, most importantly, learnt through the process.

Keeping the diary

I suggest each group assign two rapporteurs (reporters) to keep concise but precise notes on what the group did, when. Before final submission the two should combine their notes, reconcile them and confirm the record with all group members. Each group member should freely propose additions to the diary record. For our assessment purposes the diary will be an important piece of evidence of a learning process that you have proactively planned and enacted yourselves. A reflective component is also important: summarise concisely both insights gained into your subjects – the immediate object of your project – but also lessons learnt about how to go about such a project.

Stage 4: presentation

Guidelines for preparing, giving and submitting a copy of the presentation will be provided later.


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