Make All the Things Part 3: Vertical Garden Part 3 – Design Thinking

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Pumping Station One

Today we will be discussing our progress within this project so far in terms of user research. I know, I know. The readers just want to see some cool stuff being made. I assure you that I agree with you as well. The issue with building without background knowledge is that we are not really building in terms of the typical user. It is important to keep our people in mind. Without people we cannot prosper. After getting a very small sample size of people to answer a survey we made on produce habits a lot of interesting thoughts and ideals came from this. 

In a survey we made, we analyzed about 35 responses from the internet as well as the local Chicago environment. Interesting conclusions can be made. One thing is for certain to me: A lot of people do not really know about their produce habits. A question we asked on the survey was oriented towards how much produce people would estimate that they buy every week. The average answer was around 10 pounds. This makes me believe that people are not even aware of their nutritional needs in terms of produce per week. This survey is also important because it gave us some insight into the most popular choice of produce by most users. This will help us in our next stage of product development research. There are various products that we do not know how to grow in terms of botany. This will then force us to ask industry experts about the possibility of growing these in a vertical garden. We also learned a lot in terms of the most common produce in terms of waste. We asked users what went bad in their fridge first when they buy it and leave it there. The responses were very similar and it makes us question why certain produce is bought in bulk as well. In terms of a vertical garden, the produce we grow should be enough to sustain one person. This is crucial as we do not want to over produce and create waste in the process as well. 

Design Thinking and Research

I am also a bit interested in how people have a relationship with their produce in general. A lot of people are not necessarily thinking of how to make a whole meal with just produce. We asked people within the survey what 3 vegetables combined together can make a tasty meal. Not to be mean, but there wasn’t anything that seemed like a meal. It was more so complimentary food. It is important to show that people do not have such a relationship with produce and how it can be creatively used to make splendid meals of large proportions. 

Implications of Health Perception

Another interesting development of this project seems to be the perception of one’s health being important. Our survey data tells us that people are somewhat inflating their responses in terms of health standards and how many parts of their diet consisting of produce. There also was an intriguing tidbit in terms of health as well. A lot of people said that if a GMO product was being sold to them, they were less likely to buy it. This shows that people are aware of the stigmas behind certain practices within farming, but I wonder how valid and in depth this thought processes are. 

The next steps of this project include outreach to local organizations, nutritionists, as well as scientists. It will be fun for us to now go from our novice understanding of botany, produce, and nutrition, to a more advanced thought process from experts within our reach. Internet searches and looking for answers can only take us so far, so it is important for us to leverage individuals who actually have the background knowledge. It will be exciting for us to collaborate with new organizations and people for this project. Once this is done, we will be able to do what we are known for. So stay tuned for the next part of the journey and how we will gain insight from interesting professionals within this subject area.

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