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1. Demonstrate regular use of the weekly blog by providing at least 12 time-stamped meaningful blog entries THROUGHOUT the term

2. Demonstrate clear cross-referencing between reflective report and evidence from the blog

3. Demonstrate a breadth and quality of research by using a minimum of 10 high-quality sources

Knowledge Gained

This report has been prepared as a reflective assignment i.e. it is used to reflect all the lessons that I have learnt from this unit and the tasks that I performed in due course. This reflective report of mine is based entirely on the lessons and lectures that I participated in during the last 12 weeks. At the end of each week, I updated my learnings in the weekly blogs that I posted in WordPress. I have also attached the links to the weekly blogs that can be used by anyone to view the blogs. In each blog, I updated that particular week’s lessons and the activities that I performed in order to enhance my knowledge in design thinking.

I have divided this reflective report into several parts that include knowledge gained, analysis and evaluation, area of development, civic values, action plan and the expected outcome from this particular module. In the first part, I have described in detail about all the knowledge that I gathered from the lectures, lessons and personal investigation on the topic of design thinking. In the analysis and evaluation part, I have explained about my learnings while analyzing the design thinking process I took part in. I also evaluated my role in the design thinking project and tested how I enhanced my knowledge and design thinking skills. I have also prepared a personal action plan that will help gain even better skills at design thinking and applying them in solving various problems that our module lecturer told us about.

Before the beginning of the module, we were provided with a number of topics for design thinking application from which we had to choose one. I chose a topic where I thought I could apply my design thinking skills efficiently and find out a suitable solution for it. The topic that I chose along with my teammates was addressing service time issues faced by McDonalds and I proposed the development of mobile app for the company that will help them have better reach to the customers as well as improve their service time with the help of online booking and online payment systems.

At the end of the 12 Weeks of Design Thinking lesson, I can say that I gained a lot of knowledge on the topic. Before joining this module, I was not much aware of design thinking but during the course of the module, I learnt the application and benefits of design thinking. Apparently, design thinking is useful for addressing certain problems that cannot be solved by regular means. However, I also learnt in addition that design thinking is useful in enhancing the creativity and thinking power of an individual. Hence, design thinking not only benefits a particular project, it also benefits and helps the mental growth of an individual. The problem chosen by me was the poor service time at McDonalds that resulted in loss of customers and revenue. I proposed the development of mobile app for McDonalds where the customers will be able to see the menu, place orders (both on-site and home delivery) and even pay the bills online.

Analysis and Evaluation

From my knowledge of design thinking, I found that my solution would be a very suitable one if it could be implemented according to the prepared plan. Throughout the course of the development of the design thinking plan for the mobile app, I gathered a lot of knowledge regarding the proper application of design thinking to address a problem.

Selection of a particular topic helped me concentrate on one particular problem rather than looking around searching for problems to solve. As per the selected problem, I found that McDonalds is facing customer service issues that are hampering their business. As per their analysis, since all the business processes are handled manually, the service time increases considerably. When the customers visit a McDonalds store, they need to place their orders in the counter where the bills are provided accordingly. However, since the order receiving and billing process is processed manually, it takes a lot of time and the queue of the guests increase from time to time. As a result, the guests often get dissatisfied and chose to visit a different restaurant chain. Again, there is no home delivery system for McDonalds due to lack of customer support and care department.

When I first received this problem, I first identified the exact problems and issues that McDonalds was facing. I came to conclusion that regular processes like replacement of personnel, increase in number of counters, etc. are not sufficient to solve these problems. I understood that I needed to apply my design thinking skills in this matter. I proposed the development of a dedicated mobile app for McDonalds that will be able to solve their problems significantly. I analyzed that the mobile app will be an extremely feasible solution as smartphones are extremely popular among users and all the customers will be able to use the mobile app. In the mobile app, features like viewing the menu, placing order, paying bills, call for home delivery and others could be added. All these features could only have been possible in a dedicated mobile app.

During the analysis of the problem, I identified the possible area of development using design thinking. Based on the situation at McDonalds, I identified that the main area of development is the handling of the operations. I found that the issues are arising because of the manual handling of the processes like order receiving, billing and delivery. I proposed that if these could be done using automated systems, the service time will improve immediately. In the mobile app, features like viewing the menu, placing order, paying bills, call for home delivery and others could be added. Using this app, the users will be able to place orders and the system will automatically record and process the orders and forward it to the system used by the chefs. Moreover, due to online transaction system, there will be no need for manual billing and as a result, there will be manual errors existing in the billing process. I also identified that this mobile app will serve two other purposes:

Area of Development

Online Promotions – McDonalds has already lost a large number of customers and online promotion is a method that will help them gain back the customers. With the presence of the app in the app store and online promotion using social media, the customers will be able to know the revamped services of McDonalds and hence, they may choose the dine in McDonalds again.

Home Delivery System – The mobile app will also benefit McDonalds if they choose to provide home delivery services. Using the mobile app, the customers will be able to order food online from their homes without having to call the counters. Moreover, the customers will also be able to track their orders. 

My main strength that I discovered while studying in this module is that I can easily identify a problem area that needs to be addressed. While a problem situation is presented to me, I can easily analyze the details of the problem and identify the exact problem area that is the root cause of all the problems. Moreover, I can also easily identify a solution that can be used to address the problem area of a solution. I can also use my own ideas to find a solution rather than just use textbook ideas that are already been provided by previous researchers. Another one of my strength is that my ideas are always about long term solutions rather than short term fix. When I address a problem, I find all the related processes that are also interdependent with the problem area. Then I find a solution that can benefit all the processes for a long term rather than just addressing the apparent problem area. Hence, in short, my strength mainly lies in creative and analytic skills that I also utilized during the entire course of this design thinking module. 

In addition to my strengths, I also have a number of weaknesses that sometimes halt my progress during the course of my learning. The first main weakness of mine is that I always seemed to get carried away with the first solution that I identify to address the problems. I never think about better solutions that may be available instead of the first solution I can think of. I always think that the first identified solution is the best possible solution and there are no other alternatives for the same. Another one of my significant weaknesses that I need to address immediately is that I cannot implement my plans in reality to the best of my abilities. My ideas are always extremely useful for addressing the problems but during implementation, I need the help of other teammates in order to use the ideas in reality.

Civic Values

During the evaluation of the proposed design thinking process, I needed to prepare an action plan that is mainly aimed to address the problems identified in the case study. I order to develop the action plan, I prepared the following breakdown table.

Sr. No

Area of
Development

Dates
implemented

Status

Expected
Outcome

1.

Faster Billing Counter

1/10/2017 – 31/10/2017

Two new employees recruited

Better service time at the counter

2.

Mobile Application

1/11/2017 – 30/11/2017

Developed

Wide range of customer services within online interface

3.

Online Order Reception

1/12/2017 – 31/12/2017

Feature Added in App

Faster acceptance of customer orders

4.

Online Payment

1/1/2018 – 31/12/2018

Payment Gateway Added in App

Faster and cashless transaction

5.

Home Delivery

1/2/2018 – 28/2/2018

Home Delivery Request Feature Added in App

Fast home delivery

Faster Billing Counter – During identification of the problems, it has been found that the billing counter was extremely slow due to manual handling of the operations. Moreover, the existing billing staffs were inexperienced with the computerized billing of the orders. As a result, not only there were many errors during the time of billing, the service time also increased significantly as the staffs took a long time to prepare the bill. Two new billing personnel have been recruited who are already proficient with the computerized billing system and they are expected to provide faster services and decrease the service time.

Mobile Application ; The proposed mobile app is expected to solve a large number of problems as well as add new customer friendly features. I analyzed that the mobile app will be an extremely feasible solution as smartphones are extremely popular among users and all the customers will be able to use the mobile app. In the mobile app, features like viewing the menu, placing order, paying bills, call for home delivery and others could be added. All these features could only have been possible in a dedicated mobile app.

Online Order Reception ; This feature has been proposed in order to reduce the queue in front of the order and billing counter. Using the mobile app, the customers can easily preorder the foods that will be directly delivered to them when they visit the dine-in. Moreover, during online ordering, the customers will have the option to pay the bill online so that there are no time consuming cash transactions involved at the counter.

Online Payment; Online payment will be convenient option for the customers to pay their bills through the online portal rather than stand for hours in the queue at the billing counter. Moreover, no time consuming cash transactions will be involved and as the result, his order and billing will be processed faster.

Home Delivery ; This is an additional service that has been suggested for McDonalds in order to compete with the nearest rivals like Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Burger King and others who already provide extensive home delivery services. The home delivery services can be easily integrated with the mobile app using which, the customers will be able to order their desired foods and pay the bill online.

Strength

From all the suggested ideas that have been developed as a result of design thinking, I expect that the outcome will result in increase in the customer count of McDonalds. With suitable and efficient implementation of the suggested steps, McDonalds should be again able to attract customers even in the presence of the market competitors like Dominoes Pizza and Burger King. Both of these rivals have their own mobile apps that have resulted in the flourishing of their services. McDonalds can follow their examples and launch the mobile app of their own. I estimated the overall outcomes and found that if the implementations are done according to my plans, McDonalds will gain back 60% of their lost customer base within the next 3 months and they will have a 50% rise in revenue in the next year. However, the implementation of the proposed idea will be expensive and McDonalds will have to consider finding a sponsor for the development as well. However, once the implementation is complete, McDonalds will be able to improve their service time and quality easily.

Conclusion 

In this reflection report, I have explained about my learnings during my course in this design thinking module. For this study, I chose a topic where I thought I could apply my design thinking skills efficiently and find out a suitable solution for it. The topic that I chose along with my teammates was addressing service time issues faced by McDonalds and I proposed the development of mobile app for the company that will help them have better reach to the customers as well as improve their service time with the help of online booking and online payment systems. At the end of the module of design thinking, I can say that I gained a lot of knowledge on the topic. Before joining this module, I was not much aware of design thinking but during the course of the module, I learnt the application and benefits of design thinking. Apparently, design thinking is useful for addressing certain problems that cannot be solved by regular means. However, I also learnt in addition that design thinking is useful in enhancing the creativity and thinking power of an individual.    

References 

Cheng, L. C. (2016, April). The mobile app usability inspection (maui) framework as a guide for minimal viable product (mvp) testing in lean development cycle. In Proceedings of the The 2th International Conference in HCI and UX on Indonesia 2016 (pp. 1-11). ACM.

Cheng, P. J. (2016). Development of a mobile app for generating creative ideas based on exploring designers' on-line resource searching and retrieval behavior. Design Studies, 44, 74-99.

Franzago, M., Muccini, H., & Malavolta, I. (2014, June). Towards a collaborative framework for the design and development of data-intensive mobile applications. In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Mobile Software Engineering and Systems (pp. 58-61). ACM.

Hermano, M., & Stewart, G. (2014). Design guidelines for a mobile app for wellbeing of emerging adults. In Twentieth Americas Conference on Information Systems Proceedings (pp. 1-14).

Hsu, Y. C., & Ching, Y. H. (2013). Mobile app design for teaching and learning: Educators’ experiences in an online graduate course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(4).

Kolko, J. (2015). Design thinking comes of age. Harvard Business Review, 93(9), 66-71.

KONG, S. C., LAI, M., SHELDON, J., & TISSENBAUM, M. (2017). The Design and Evaluation of a Teacher Development Programme in Computational Thinking Education. Siu-cheung KONG The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 77.

Mummah, S., Robinson, T. N., Mathur, M., Farzinkhou, S., Sutton, S., & Gardner, C. D. (2017). Effect of a mobile app intervention on vegetable consumption in overweight adults: a randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), 125.

Oppegaard, B., Conway, T., & Conway, M. (2016, September). From seeing to hearing: Lessons learned from a research-based design project focused upon audio description, print-to-acoustic remediation, and mobile-app delivery. In Proceedings of the 34th ACM International Conference on the Design of Communication (p. 42). ACM.

TAN, C. W., YU, P. D., LIN, L., FUNG, C. K., LAI, C. K., & CHENG, Y. (2017). Teaching Computational Thinking by Gamification of K-12 Mathematics: Mobile App Math Games in Mathematics and Computer Science Tournament. Siu-cheung KONG The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 55.

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