Oh how time passed so quickly and now we are in the week of all our submissions and the long anticipated product launch. Also read: many long days and late nights at the IDI.
This week went something like this for my theme:
Make 小睡宝 work
As mentioned in my previous post, while I was busied with powerpoint and report my other group mates were all about the coding,cadding and printing. On Monday, some of us were all busied with assembling the electronics and components into this fReShLy and ~PrOfessIOnaLLy 3D~ printed model of our product. By SUTD standards, you must be wondering, what is the rush? There is still 4 days before our prototype gets to be presented during the product launch on Friday that very week.
Well, we were thrown a curve ball because we were kind of last minute-ly informed that we would be visiting KLITES, the company we are working with for this project. That also mean that we needed a set of Powerpoint slides for this company visit sake. Luckily, at this point I was more or less ready with the very first version of slides which I was working on last week. I thank my lucky stars that I was freed from the prototyping side of things the previous week otherwise, someone has to pull a last minute set of slides for the company which sounds terrible. Reverting attention to the prototype, it was working well just in time for the company visit which is the biggest relief.
Present in Chinese
Not like it was surprising news, we had to present ourselves in Chinese to KLITES. Public speaking + Chinese = probably one of the most intimidating thing for an English speaking Singaporean, not so outspoken girl, right? The first instinct to do was to just taichi the entire task to someone in the group who was perfectly fluent in Chinese and eloquent in speech – and I very well could.
Then I got reminded of two things:
1. In Secondary school, I did a presentation entirely in Chinese with something called a fully written script. I also recalled how there was this thing called “Presentation Night” in secondary school where our parents were invited to see us present. I still recall how my English teacher and parents were pleasantly surprised at how I presented confidently ( truth: I was nervous DUH) and it thought me I had it in me to speak in front of a crowd. If there was something I learned from my past experiences with public speaking (mostly in my secondary school years), is that it gets better with practice and its not a skill that can be mastered only by outspoken people.
2. My mother’s very strong stance on the importance of speaking Chinese in the corporate world. Before i continue, she is academically proven NOT to be good in Chinese ( I sometimes fault genetics). As someone who has been in the corporate world during an era when China is rising, her words definitely holds some weight when she constantly remind me of the sheer importance of Chinese. If public speaking can be polished as a skill, it very well also means the same for public speaking IN CHINESE.
In short, I YOLO-ed and volunteer to present the first half of the presentation , the half that I was more familiar with. Obviously, heavily reliant on a script I manually translated with the help of Google translate.
Present with interruption
What is more crazy than a mere one way presentation to a big company? An unanticipated two way presentation. I would like to believe that our product got KLITES excited that the KLITES represents started pulling a civilised version of Kanye West on us. He started popping question about functions and was a tad too eager to see the prototype in its work ( even though we were set to show the demo at the end of the powerpoint). So the entire meeting room sounded pretty heated… But all’s good. They gave us advice and new perspectives that aided us in thinking of the future developments of our product.
Video Filming and Editing
With a ~wOrKing PrOtotypE~ we could finally film the second half of video ( first part was filmed and edited already at this point) I, for one am very very very grateful for my dedicated group mates who were having long days before. Yet, they were really patient when it came to taking multiple takes of scenes and helping me with those camera things ( yes, this might be the 4th video I am filming for but I have been using my iPhone for the past three times).
With filming out of the way, it was editing time, which I was determined to stay through the night because I was still quite slow and unfamiliar with Premier Pro ( I just picked it up during design fiction) Much editing later, version 1 was out.
While filming was taking place, another group mate was working on the poster which was due that night. This was when we were made known to a very foreign way of “teaching” ( for the lack of better word) . The TA kind of re-did his version of the poster for us to use as reference……ODD.
Series of fine-tuning and re-editing
After rehearsals, we were able to better understand the flow of our presentation and how the audience view them on the LED screen. So we made some changes here and there. To the video, flow of presentation, slide order and all that.
Submit report , powerpoint and video. Sounds un-exciting. But trust me, it did felt like weight(s) off the shoulder and several steps towards the end of the project.
Firefight with 小睡宝
It was working fine all these while since assembly, but decided to falter just a few hours before the presentation. So the expert Engineers in the group came to the rescue.
It was finally the time we have all been anticipating. After several groups made their presentation, it was finally our turn. Personally, when I was standing in front of the entire room, with some sort spotlight shining on you, it felt intimidating but at the same time empowering. Overall i genuinely think my group did a really REALLY good job both presenting and handling the highly engaging Q&A that followed.
We all know deep down that the success of our project would not be possible without the tremendous guidance from our Professor and teacher assistant. They gone the extra mile on so many occurrences from ferrying us to different campuses and factories just so that we can get the prototype fabricated. Stayed with us through the afternoon to guide us with brainstorming. Organise cultural activities like berry picking and factory visits to companies.
So, we decided to spend the extra time we had to prepare gifts and 3D print a small version of our prototype and. We also printed stickers with our product logo. #extra
That concludes our project we have been working on for the past 13 weeks ( actually the real grind started about 4 weeks before product launch) I’ve learn so much from this fulfilling experience and I really hope the next batch of ALP/DATE juniors would be able to experience what i did in terms of project work and other cultural activities here in China.