Something we at rethinkED have internalized is the value of diverse perspectives and minds when designing and developing. As part of the Design Thinking for Educators process (and I believe practically all design processes), designers are told to seek valuable insight from users and experts in the given field. For instance, if designing a new type of desk for middle schoolers, you should have designers, ergonomics experts, teachers, and actual middle schoolers intimately involved in the process. While this may seem obvious, far too-often products are designed either without direct consultation of the user base, or with the users being introduced into the process far too late to be of any use.
Additionally, rethinkED has aimed to recruit unique individuals who are joined in our interest in innovative education but diverse in our approaches to the issues and educational backgrounds. We are teachers, students, writers, designers, and administrators of a few different ages with diverse backgrounds. In our meetings we often discuss the benefit of bringing in people with unique and fresh perspectives to help us look at problems in new ways.
This is why I loved reading this article in Wired, titled “Nintendo’s New Key to Creativity: More Women.” It seems that in the highly male-dominated industry of game design, women are finally getting their time to shine, with clearly impressive results. Almost half of the game development team was female for the widely successful Animal Crossing: New Leaf game, and the producer and director believe that this is definitely related to their success. Highly popular with 19 to 24 year old women, this game has defied stereotypes that female gamers are “casual gamers [who] don’t need dedicated hardware”. Additionally, in the article, Kyogoku, the director of New Leaf, explains that she has seen a greater diversity of ideas as a result of adding women in a variety of roles to project teams.
The team was diverse both in terms of age and gender. Eguchi, the producer, explained that bringing in people with a variety of interests enables the team to discover “new ways of playing and new experiences to provide to users.” Seeing as this game has produced real results with appeal to a broad variety of audiences, hopefully other design teams will adopt this model.
As a more casual gamer who is slightly older than the 19-24 demographic, this is a game I would actually love to play. Check out a preview here: