Tag prototypes

{ SLÖJD } Pop Up Multidisciplinary Team Designs Prototypes to Enhance Creativity In Schools During 6 Day Workshop…*

No Right Brain Left Behind and verynice invited nine multidisciplinary designers to work together for 6 days on developing a prototype to enhance creativity in schools. The goal was to empower educators and students to learn together in new ways.

So cool to see how other multidisciplinary teams are coming together to rethink…* learning and teaching practices.

enjoy & rethink…*

SLÖJD – Designing Solutions to Foster Creativity in Education from viktor venson on Vimeo.

[H/T: DESIGNING SOLUTIONS TO FOSTER CREATIVITY IN EDUCATION ~ via Think Jar Collective, published August 21, 2013. ]

The Secret Story of Toys…* Tour A Toy Prototyping Studio With This Lovely Short Documentary From Anthony Ladesich

Happy Wednesday!

delight & rethink…* 

The Secret Story of TOYS from Anthony Ladesich on Vimeo.

[ HT: A Look Inside A Toy Prototyping Studio ~ via Core77, published August 20, 2013. ]

Friday Link Fest {October 19-26, 2012}

ARTICLES

Getting Energy From the Ocean Floor ~ A consortium of companies, including Eaton Corporation, Triton, and others, are in the process of building the first-ever collection system designed to harvest energy from the currents found in the depths of Earth’s oceans. via BigThink, published October 17, 2012.

Twitter Turns #SignsYoSonIsGay Hashtag Into Warm and Fuzzy Support Group ~ On the people of Twitter being awesome and the power of social media to create supportive communities. via Gawker, published October 20, 2012.

Why Focus Groups Kill Innovation, From The Designer Behind Swiffer ~ Design Thinking in action: The Aeron Chair, the Swiffer, and the Reebok Pump–none of these breakthrough products would have gotten high marks from a focus group. Here Continuum’s Gianfranco Zaccai lists four steps to take before introducing a design to the masses. via FastCo.Design, published October 18, 2012.

What Both MBAs And MFAs Get Wrong About Solving Business Problems ~ Numbers and bullet points aren’t the only things driving executive decision making. And pretty pictures won’t get you there either. Both Designers and MBAs have a lot to learn. via FastCo.Design, published April 26, 2012

Urban ExperimentsTake to the Streets~ “a living laboratory” of two dozen imaginative inventions for transforming public space being showcased at the Urban Prototyping Festival, a free, 10-hour event in downtown San Francisco held last Sartuday. via San Francisco Gate, published October 19, 2012.

TALKS

New York Times Data Artist Jer Thorp on Humanized Data at the Intersection of Science, Art and Design ~ In a talk given at TEDxVancouver, Jer Thorp takes us on a sweeping tour of his work and ethos, living at the intersection of science, art, and design. via Brainpickings, published March 1, 2012.

YouTube Announces The Next 10 Gurus Of Education ~ After more than 1,000 entries, YouTube has chosen the next 10 Gurus of Education. The search started last month when YouTube teamed up with Khan Academy to find a few folks who could generate useful content and resources for the YouTube EDU channels (1,000 channels exist so far). via Edudemic, published October 17, 2012.

How Popcorn Maker Adds a New Layer of Information to a TED Talk~ TED goes transmedia: TEDTalk as you have never seen a TEDTalk before — with a clickable layer of information that anyone can add to, edit or remix. via TED Blog, published October 19, 2012

John Maeda on The New Tao of Leadership ~ “when creative people become The Man, it’s quite awkward.” via Big Think, published October October 12, 2012

Education in the Age of Innovation Panel ~ The most significant trend today is the shift away from a world where power is concentrated in the hands of an elite few, and success for everyone else depends on their ability to perform repetitive function work. Instead, in our world now defined by accelerating change, success depends on our individual and collective ability to innovate. During this plenary panel, four of the nation’s premier education thought leaders and practitioners offered their vision for education in the age of innovation. via Ashoka, published Aug 22, 2012.

IMAGES

A Very Unusual Camera That Emphasizes Time Over Space ~ Jay Mark Johnson—an architect, painter, political activist, cinematic special-effects designer, and student of cognitive sciences—probably would not have come up with the idea, himself, were it not for a chance discovery. He had purchased a $85,000 rotating slit-scan camera for high-resolution panoramas. (The camera records vast landscapes sliver by sliver.) Finding the accidental effects of motion in front of the camera strangely poetic, he experimented with stopping the rotation and honing in on one tiny area. These images are the result. via Slate.com, published Oct. 15, 2012.

Temporary Pavilion by Shigeru Ban in Moscow’s Gorky Park ~ On October 20th, 2012 Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture is opening the temporary pavilion by Shigeru Ban, a new venue for exhibitions, lectures, workshops, film screenings, concerts and kids’ activities, with cafe and book store. Ban’s design for the Garage’s new temporary space–situated by Gorky Park’s Pionersky Pond–uses locally produced paper tubes to create an oval wall at 6 meters high with the total area of the pavilion measuring 2,400 square meters. via DesignBoom, published October 20, 2012.

The Must-Have EdTech Cheat Sheet ~ Infographic from Boundless on the whole galaxy of terminology that you should know about when it comes to education technology. via Edudemic, published July 26, 2012.

50 Alternate American Flags, Each A Secret Infographic ~ Rethinking…* the American Flag ~ Design Studio MGMT hides telling data points inside their reimagined variations of the stars and stripes. via FastCoDesign, published October 19, 2012.

Full-Size Museum Replicas from a Makerbot ~ These pieces were printed on a Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer, by artist Cosmo Wenman, who printed them in several pieces and then assembled them. via BoingBoing.net, published October 20, 2012.

An Inside Look At Art-School Studios Around The World ~ Photographer Leonora Hamill has traveled the world capturing quiet moments at art schools for her Art in Progress series. Creative environments are in clear focus, but it’s chemistry–implicit between teacher and student, materials and limitations, assignment and epiphany–that makes these images so striking and alive. via FastCoDesign, published October 19th, 2012.

The Best Graphics That Make You Realize You Don’t Know How Big Anything Actually Is~ Admit it. You have no real feeling for the size of the solar system. That’s O.K. Nobody else does either. Even knowing the numbers doesn’t help much. If I tell you the Earth is about 8,000 miles in diameter and 93,000,000 miles from the Sun, does that give you any sense of the distances involved? No, because the numbers are too big. Things that are so far removed from our daily experience — like quarks, and dinosaurs, and Kim Kardashian — are inherently hard to understand. via Smithsonian.com, published October 22, 2012.

RESOURCES

47 Mind-Blowing Psychological Facts You Should Know About Yourself ~ Humans: An Evolving Reference. Via Business Insider War Room, published Nov. 22, 2010.

DIY.org ~ Terrific website for kids & adults: Earn Skills, Become a Maker: Build. Make. Hack. Grow.

27 Ways to Learn Programming Online ~ via The Next Web, published October 21, 2012.

Get a Liberal Arts Education For Free on the Internet ~ Just getting a job in this economy is difficult enough. Getting one with a liberal arts degree is simply masochistic. Don’t spend half a decade and thousands of dollars only to join the rest of the English majors busking in a subway. Instead, educate yourself with these valuable, respectable, and totally free online resources. via Gizmodo, published October 20, 2012.

Rethinked* Annex: Dinners From Around The World Prototype 1.0

Those of you who read my update on rethinked*annex from last week will be aware that I have fully embraced my inner nerd and have come up with a Dinner from Around the World solution to my Rethinking…* the eating experience design thinking challenge. The idea behind this is based on one of the themes that I identified from my observations of the aspects of eating and cooking that are meaningful, enjoyable and important to me. The theme is tradition: I noticed that many of my most memorable eating experiences were embedded in tradition- Christmas feasts, my mother’s crepes for the Chandeleur, my father’s cacio e peppe at the first real chill of fall— but all come from my childhood and I haven’t experienced many of them in a long time.

One Potential Solution that I articulated last week for this theme was to start a dinner from around the world night. This is something that I wanted to do as a kid, when I used to daydream about “grown-up me”. Each week pick a different country, find traditional recipes from that country and make a dinner around it. Matt and I could each do a little research on something intriguing from that country (artists, writers, cultural phenomena etc.) We could then share and discuss our findings with each other over the meal.

I made a very basic prototype of this experience last night. We ordered Sushi that we ate while watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, David Gelb’s documentary on Jiro Ono, owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant and considered one of, if not the best, sushi chefs in the world. (Jiro Dreams Of Sushi is a terrific documentary and highly recommended for anyone interested in notions of craftsmanship, transmission within families, work ethic, food and the quest to reach the ‘next level’.)

FEEDBACK & NOTES FOR FUTURE ITERATIONS

Given that the whole point of my redesign is to NOT eat distractedly out of plastic containers hunched over on the couch while watching movies…the part of the prototype that did just that needs to be reworked. Next time if we want to watch a movie for our Dinners From Around the World, we should screen it before dinner and then discuss it sitting down for our meal.

It was a good way to test the idea as a whole. Setting up these weekly dinners seems like a fun idea in theory but would it translate in praxis? It would seem so as both Matt and I enjoyed the experience and had an interesting conversation.

I think the experience could have used a little integrative thinking. While the documentary by itself was great and led to us having an enjoyable and intriguing conversation, I wish we had had another aspect of Japanese culture to integrate with the documentary. That’s why I like the idea of both Matt and I researching one thing each and then sharing over the course of the meal, it seems like it would create an even more fertile environment for fantastic conversation.

Insights from Parsons’ Learn.Engage.Design Prototyping Workshop

First of all, I would like to extend a huge thank you to Lisa Grocott of Parsons The New School of Design and her Transdisciplinary Design students for inviting a group of Riverdale Country School faculty and students along with several rethinked…* team members to participate in a prototyping workshop aiming to explore learning futures for the 21st century. On Thursday September 20th, Lisa and her students invited us to participate and collaborate in a workshop where we would be prototyping some of the early ideas coming out of their course Learn.Engage.Design.

THE WORKSHOP

The workshop is part of the Learn.Engage.Design course at Parsons — a course where the students work in collaborative teams with external partners to design innovative systems, experiences and services that hopefully serve a broad community of students, teachers, administrators and families interested in how we build engaging learning experiences.

The focus of the workshop will be on prototyping some of the early ideas coming out of the course. There will be time upfront for RCS faculty and students to add their voice to the students’ insights and framing of the project, but just as importantly we will be using the prototyping process to further interrogate the situation and refine our ambitions.

For the workshop, the participants (RCS faculty & students, Parsons students and rethinked…* team members) were divided into four Engaged Learning project teams, each centered around a different theme connected to exploring learning futures in the 21st century: Teaching Teachers; Anytime, Anywhere; Learning Spaces; and Students as Teachers. The teams that emerged were truly interdisciplinary and created a well-rounded unit of people with a wide array of skills and expertise all honing in on the challenges of education.

Teaching Teachers 

This project recognizes the value of co-designing with teachers’ strategies for fostering a student-led, inquiry-based approach to learning. The project builds on literature around design-based learning and positive psychology — with the emphasis on investing in the teacher.

Anytime, Anywhere 

Embracing technologies of cooperation and cultivating open learning environments allows this project to explore how, when and where a student might learn in the 21st century. The project emphasizes the individual student by building on the potential of collaborative learning platforms — specifically exploring the framing of the school as a learning commons.

Learning Spaces 

This project recognizes the role space and place impact our learning environment and shape how we learn. Shaped by the maker economy and emphasizing authentic learning this project builds on the notion of school as simply the base camp for learning — promoting the peer-to-peer learning of a collaborative environments.

Students as Teachers 

This project emphasizes the value of self-directed learning where the student embraces the role of framing his or her own learning contracts. Recognizing that to build resilient learning communities this project acknowledges the school’s role in extending the teacher / student relationship to include family, coaches, tutors, and mentor learning teams.

THE WAY YOU FRAME THE EXECUTION OF YOUR PROTOTYPES MAKES AN ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE IN THE OUTCOME

Once we had established our goals, defined our how might we’s, attempted to define an integrated idea from two opposing solutions, and selected a couple ideas we wanted to explore (what ifs) we were asked to identify a protagonist for our story and sketch out our ideas in the form of a two-minute video. While the workshop as a whole was incredibly informative and fun the part that was most educational, for me personally, occurred when we were asked to think about the challenges, solutions and users in an integrated and holistic way by telling a short simple story. Our instructions were as follow:

1. Identify a protagonist for your story & consider the following: 

Ambitions

Challenges

Motivations

Demographics: gender, age, class, ethnicity,

2. Sketch out a character arc of the protagonist through a 4-act play

Act I. Introduce the problem space or opportunity.

Act II. Set up how the core tension/problem might be resolved (HMW)

Act III. Present your idea, the potential solution (What If…)

Act IV. Disclose the resolution, identifying the impact of the idea.

3.Video Sketch

a) Simultaneously develop the script and set design for your 4-act video

b) Rehearse the actors’ movements, do a read through, then shoot the video in one take to share with others.

c) Copy video on to computer, then flash drive, then Lisa’s computer.

 

PROTOTYPING FOR YOUR PERSONALITY

I write to think, to know and to remember. This is not an abstract meaningless cliché; it’s my reality. For ideas to be fully processed, remembered, created and connected to other ideas, I have to write them all down. It’s a painstakingly slow process and runs counter to every tenet of efficiency, but it’s the way that works for me, my brain and my personality.

By framing the execution of our prototypes in the context of a story, I was able to achieve a fuller, more in depth, conceptual and integrated understanding of the challenge at hand and its various elements than I have been able to up to now with previous design thinking challenges. In most design thinking challenges I have participated in, the execution of the prototypes is left open ended except for an emphasis on using cheap, fast and ordinary materials so that your ideas and prototypes do not become too precious to you.

Sketching out a character arc was a way to identify, keep track of and integrate the various elements of the ‘topography’ of our challenges: the users, activities, environments, objects and interactions that come together to create the reality of the challenge and the impact of the solutions. The medium (video) was also particularly helpful for me because it created a way to visually keep track of all these elements as a coherent whole.

While oftentimes you might not be the intended user of the prototype(s) you are making, it is important to pay attention to your individual needs, preferences and cognitive characteristics when framing the execution of the prototype. Different frames and constraints for executing prototypes will work differently for different people. The key is experimenting with various limits and restrictions until you find the right mix and medium for you.

Head over to our Facebook page for more pictures from the workshop.

Initial Thoughts on Change by Design

 

Change by Design: How design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown with Barry Katz

Perhaps the first thing I want to do during the Design Thinking (DT) cycle is research opposing views or perspectives that put DT into a larger context of tools and principles for practicing and nurturing a deeply human, embodied and innovative way of thinking. I loved everything about Change by Design–from Brown’s prose and voice to the tools, methodology and worldview he described. I really buy into design thinking as a set of principles for rethinking how we design products, services, environments and experiences. I attended the Design Thinking For Educators Workshop this past June at the Riverdale Country School and saw, first hand, what an exciting, refreshing and deeply human process it is. Because I am obsessed with design thinking as a solution to many of the pressing problems we face in the twenty-first century, I think it is important that I gain some perspective on the discipline by seeing how it fits in with other, similar and opposing, views and methodologies.

Tim Brown is deeply aware of the costs and consequences of our current consumption culture. He highlights the fact that we, collective we–as citizens and consumers, are no longer content to be treated as passive consumers of products and services; we want to participate. Perhaps it is  a result of how much we have come to invest emotionally in goods, products, brands and services over the past few centuries that we now expect them to provide us with deep, meaningful and participatory experiences. (Check out this very current article on Why Millennials Don’t Want to Buy Stuff Anymore via Fast Co. for more on the experience economy.)  Whether this is the cause or not for this new expectation on the part of consumers, the fact remains that organizations, teams and individuals now need a set of principles to redesign how they think and approach problems, experiences, and interactions. The principles and tools of the design thinker, Brown suggests, offers just such a methodology.

For most of the DT cycle of rethinked*annex, I want to do as many quick challenges one after the other as I can; prototyping the design thinking process itself. One of the essential elements of the design thinking process is an integrative team of passionate and open people. This is not to say that design thinking cannot be practiced at the level of the individual, it is a method of thinking after all, but I think it will require some adjustment learning to do solo “design challenges”.

I also want to do the design challenges to practice some important elements of design thinking, such as the brief, brainstorming, visual thinking, prototyping from the beginning, etc., which I plan on using when designing the other cycles of rethinked*annex. The reason for using various element of the design thinking process to design and implement the other cycles is that the design paradigm, from which a design thinker approaches new problems, always operates within known constraints (the brief) and is grounded in reality by tangible deadlines. Given that rethinked*annex is based, to a large extent, on experimenting with ways to live out precepts from a few core books in my daily individual life, DT provides a great way to keep the goals and strategies tangible and grounds this intellectual exercise in praxis and reality.

Many of the principles of design thinking are, to be honest, foreign to my own way of thinking. I am one of those great anxious of the white page. I obsess over ideas—shape, define, tear them down and start all over again–but always in my head. It takes me ages to get ideas out of my head and onto paper or other forms of tangible representation. Quick, cheap and dirty prototyping has been mostly inexistent in my own approach to problems and situations in need of better resolutions. This has been an issue for me, mainly in academia but it does reflect a tendency to not act on ideas that occurs in my daily life and which bothers me. I hope that by practicing, and hopefully, over time, mastering, the various element of design thinking–such as prototyping all along the way of a project, defining a grounded and fruitful brief, learning to express my ideas visually and building upon the ideas of other–I might overcome my avoidance of execution.

I plan on doing repeated solo design challenges, starting with very small concrete things that I identify as not working optimally, such as, for example, “how might I rethink how I organize my clothes?” This “how might I” question, the expression of the design paradigm, is what will lead to the brief–the set of grounded constraints which are actually springboards of possibility for the project. Each stage requires discernment and decision-making, and this, as Brown repeatedly reminds us, takes practice. If the constraints are too strict, the possibilities of true innovation become stifled, but if they are too broad, the rethinkers will be unable to find an optimal focus through which to approach the challenge. Tim Brown does a great job of explaining what a well designed brief should encompass and gives plenty of examples of how other people and organizations have mastered the art of the brief and other elements of the design thinking process. But as he notes, nothing beats doing it repeatedly yourself to really understand what the various elements of design thinking are really about. I hope that as I learn to work through the various elements of DT in small, tangible contexts, I will gain the skills and confidence necessary to progressively move on to more abstract and complex design challenges, based on, for example, behaviors and routine dynamics.

I cannot recommend the book enough. Skip to the last chapter for a very concise summary of all the main ideas and concepts that Brown describes throughout the book, or read it all the way through for detailed case studies and descriptions of successful implementations of the tools and methods of design thinking and the assumptions and worldview behind them.

Thoughts on the Design Thinking For Educators Workshop

First of all a huge thank you to the Riverdale Country School (RCS) and IDEO for putting together the Design Thinking for Educators Workshop, what a brilliant two days!

   

The workshop started Thursday morning on the sunny RCS campus. Designers, students, teachers and administrators gathered together in the RCS multi purpose room filled with IDEO’s colorful rolling desks. We started the workshop with a 45-minute challenge designed to give us an overview of the design thinking (DT) process.
                 

 

We partnered in groups of two and were tasked with redesigning our partner’s morning commute. Together we went through the five phases of the DT process (Discovery, Interpretation, Ideation, Experimentation, Evolution) to identify the challenges our partner faced every day as part of their commute in order to come up with tangible solutions for them.

 

      

 

We were given a list of tips for the discovery process, to allow us to engage with our partner’s reality in an empathetic way.  We were urged to not solely gather facts but to get at the moments, the stories behind the facts because design thinking, at its core, is about the human experience. It’s about improving our moments by challenging the status quo and placing the human, as an individual rather than a statistic, at the center of every experience.

I told my partner, Pia, a learning specialist at RCS, about my commute and enumerated my many complaints: the overly crowded subways, the unpredictability of the G train, the frustration I feel every morning as I try to manage a modicum of personal space, stuck in a mass of tired, cranky, coughing, sneezing people all in a hurry to get where they are going. In retrospect however, after having seen Pia’s prototypes of the solutions she came up with for my morning commute, I realized all of these complaints are the facts of my commute, shared by thousands of others taking the NYC subway. They do not reveal anything specific about my needs or my personal experience of the commute.

Armed with IDEO’s tips on discovery, Pia was able to identify the real story of my morning commute: I’m not a morning person. I’m actually not really a person at all in the mornings until I’ve had my second cup of coffee. And I’m a bit of a germaphobe. I absolutely hate having to be crammed so close to strangers that I can feel their breaths on my face, it sends me into a whirling state of paranoia about all the many diseases floating around the subway car, waiting like predators to get me sick.

So Pia designed a subway that would have Purell dispensers as well as cup holders and coffee machines in every subway car. It was a simple, elegant solution and it was such a salient insight into the overarching challenge of my commute. What amazed me was that through the DT process Pia was able to identify my morning commute challenge better than I could myself.

 

             

 

It was astounding to see the quality, breadth and creativity of the ideas produced in such a short amount of time. From bike helmets that protect your hair do, to a digital butler that bounces ideas off with you about things you’re interested in while you’re driving, the prototypes were amazing. (MTA, if you’re listening, coffee machines and cup holders in the subway are pure gold…get on it).

Our next challenge, which was to be the core of the workshop, was to reimagine the 21st century library.

1. DISCOVERY: I have a challenge. How do I approach it?

We were split up into groups of five and sent off on different field trips to analogous places and on interviews with students and their families. One group went to Starbucks, another interviewed students, another a family and so on. This was all part of the discovery phase. Discovery is about being inspired and energized. The goal of discovery is to achieve a state of ‘informed intuition’ meaning that an intellectual grasp of the challenge is not enough, we want to become aware of the various aspects of a challenge at all levels (emotional, physical, empathetic, etc.).

When all the teams returned from their interviews and observations trips we broke for lunch, excited for the next phase of the process.

2. INTERPRETATION: Learned something. How do I interpret it?

After lunch, we were ready to begin the interpretation phase. We were first asked to write down the information we had gathered on post-its notes. One thought or quote per post-it. It was interesting to see how all the members of my group, despite having all been in the same room and having participated in the same interview with a family of three, had identifying such different insights. After getting all the information we had gathered out onto the post-its, we began to group them by themes.

 

 

We then arranged the themes into “How Might We”s (HMW). In this step we rephrased the problems we had identified into possibilities. For example, we realized that the students found it difficult to navigate the library and find the resources they were looking for. This insight was translated into a HMW: How might we redesign the ways in which books are grouped to ensure that students are able to find the books they seek?

3. IDEATION: I see an opportunity. What do I create?

 

 

Once we had identified some HMWs, we were reorganized into groups of 15 and voted on two HMWs that the aggregated group wanted to focus on. We then had to come up with as many ideas as possible, which we jotted down on post-its and put up on a board. Our goal was to come up with at least 100 ideas in the allotted time. It was an amazing experience seeing the ideas slowly trickle out at first before spurting out in a seemingly endless flow.

 

 

The second day of the workshop was split between prototyping the ideas we had come up with during ideation and examining our real life challenges through the DT lens.

4. EXPERIMENTATION: I have an idea. How do I build it?

The experimentation phase of the process is about thinking through an idea. It’s about getting ideas out of your brain so they don’t become too precious in your mind and making them tangible so that you can evaluate them and get rapid responses from stakeholders. The prototype can be executed in any form; it doesn’t necessarily have to be in physical form, it can be role-playing or any other type of representation that successfully illustrates the idea.

We were split back into groups of five and each group selected two to three ideas to prototype. To build our prototypes we had access to anything in the room (chairs, tables, water bottles, etc.) as well as an assortment of arts and crafts materials.

 

 

Once the allotted time for building our prototypes was up, each group was given two minutes to present their prototype to the whole group as well as a panel of RCS students who provided feedback on each of the prototypes.

 

 

 

Each of the prototypes was breathtaking; no idea was too big or too small to be represented. One group designed a set of ‘bibliospecs’, which would function similarly to Google glasses whereby the wearer would see personalized information and set of resources tailored to her as she navigated the library. Another group designed a new type of librarian position that would hand deliver special invitations and VIP event invitations at the library to students. Yet a third group redesigned the library to include within it a large tree, hammock reading nooks, modular furniture and information kiosques. Each of the prototypes brimmed with wonder, imagination, whimsy and possibility.

5. EVOLUTION: I tried something. How do I evolve it?

Evolution is an ongoing process, a way to refine your ideas and concepts over time. All products, services and systems are constantly in the evolution phase. Nothing is ever done or perfect; as our needs evolve so too should our environments and interactions.

While we did not physically evolve our prototypes, getting the feedback from the students did give us a good idea of further steps in which to take our solutions to better meet their needs.

The rest of the day was spent focusing on the individuals in the room and their specific education challenges. We partnered up in groups of two and unleashed our specific complaints, changing them together into How Might We’s and coming up with a project plan to enact tangible solutions to the problems we face.

 

 

As the workshop came to an end, it was amazing to reflect on all that we had learned. We had acquired a new skill set (design thinking), we had gathered insights on students’ needs and preferences, and we had learned about ourselves. We tend to take our mindsets for granted because the opportunities to question deeply how we think are so rare and far between. All systems, to varying degrees, instill in us a sense of immutability. As we experienced a new methodology of thinking, we were all forced, to some extent, to realize our own biases and assumptions. It was an incredibly empowering experience to be reminded, for it seems we often forget, that our experiences as individuals matter. We do not have to passively accept systems, services, products and environments that do not meet our needs. We do not have to wait for solutions to be handed down to us by ‘experts’. With the people around us and a simple yet powerful method, we have the power to take ownership of our experiences and effect tangible changes for ourselves. Design thinking is a set of tools but it is above all a mindset. It is about rethinking problems into possibilities; it is about being human and making the most of it.

If you couldn’t make it to the workshop, don’t worry you can still experience design thinking for yourself. Check out designthinkingforeducators.com where you can get a free 94-page toolkit, which details the design thinking process as well as presenting real case studies of how the process has been used in schools to enact positive changes. Be sure to check back here with us and on our Twitter and Facebook page for more pictures of the workshop and announcements regarding upcoming initiatives.

As always, we’d love to know what you’re thinking. Whether you were at the workshop or not, let us know what’s on your mind: comments, questions, case studies, feedback…we love it all.

 

 

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