190H Computer Design Challenge

Article by Brett Schwab

During our first week in the 190H class, our team, Team Rafiki, was informed that we were going to be involved in a computer design challenge.  We had each heard rumors of this daunting project from members of other cohorts.  While scanning Newegg.com, looking for potential computer parts to fit into our $500 budget, there were many disagreements on how to approach the challenge.

Our team eventually decided to go with a radical, innovative idea.  We planned to budget a lot of our money towards features in hopes that it would make our computer stand out among the others in the challenge.  Although this would compromise the quality of many features, we thought that most of the computers in the challenge would be uniform and unordinary.  Dr. Bailey and the QUEST curriculum preach innovation and we hoped that our innovative plan would be rewarded by winning.  We stocked our computer with a massage cushion, giant monitor, extra printer, and the Oregon Trail computer game.  We, then, named our computer “The Trailblazer” to go along with the Oregon Trail theme. Instead of having an ordinary presentation, we made the first segment of our presentation into an Oregon Trail themed skit complete with a cowboy hat and cowboy boot.  This comedic skit captured the attention of the audience.  The audience response was clearly positive as we won first place in the computer design challenge.

I think our success in the computer design challenge mirrors the idea taught by the QUEST program: “Listen to the voice of the customer.”  In this case, the customer our fellow QUEST students who were getting a new computer of their choice.  Our team assumed correctly that these college age voters would be more impressed by a massage chair and computer game than a bigger hard drive.  We also correctly assumed that the audience would enjoy a skit more than a basic presentation.  Our team was very happy with the results and the entire QUEST community benefitted as there is now a massage cushion, extra printer, and Oregon Trail in the Quest Lab.

190 students present their newly designed computer

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