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  • Writer's pictureallisonjolester

Demystifying Design Thinking

Picture this: You're stuck in a room with a chicken, a ball of yarn, and a blender, tasked with creating the next 'must-have' gadget. While this scenario might seem more suited for a bad sitcom or an episode of MacGyver, it's not too far removed from the exhilarating world of Design Thinking. It's all about using what you've got (the chicken, the yarn, the blender) and crafting something people not only want but need (probably not a chicken-yarn-blender, though).

So, dear reader, you ask, "What the heck is Design Thinking, and why should I care?" A fair question! Allow me to take you on a whistle-stop tour of this fascinating realm where creativity reigns supreme, empathy is the queen, and human-centered design is the loveable court jester who often steals the show.

Design Thinking is an approach to problem-solving that puts the end-user (a.k.a the human) at the heart of the process. Yes, dear friends, it's not about producing a shiny gizmo with a thousand buttons; it's about creating solutions that are practical, user-friendly, and meet the needs of those pesky humans who will use them.

Remember that time you bought a gadget that seemed cutting-edge, but you couldn't figure out how to turn it on? Or the time you got lost using an app because navigating it felt like navigating the Bermuda Triangle? That's precisely what Design Thinking aims to avoid. It says, "Hey, user! We see you. We get you. Let's make something awesome together."

Now that we've ventured into the magical land of Design Thinking, let's get our hands dirty. Here are some fun and engaging activities to bring this innovative approach into your educational settings:

  1. Empathy Mapping: Give your students a problem and ask them to create an empathy map for the person facing it. This can include what the person is thinking, feeling, seeing, and doing. This activity encourages them to step into someone else's shoes - a key element of Design Thinking.

  2. Crazy Eights: Let your students flex their creative muscles by coming up with as many ideas as possible in a limited time. Hand out sheets of paper, divided into eight sections. Set a timer for eight minutes and get them to fill each section with a different idea. It's fast, it's fun, and it's a creativity-stimulating riot!

  3. Prototype Carousel: Students create a basic prototype of their solution, then pass it on to another group. Each group then improves upon the prototype they receive. This activity embodies the iterative process of Design Thinking, where ideas are continuously tested and improved.

  4. Role Play: Ask your students to enact a scenario using their prototypes. This gives them a chance to test their ideas and see how well they work in real life (or as real as your classroom can get!).

So there you have it! The glittering world of Design Thinking and Human-Centered Approach laid bare for you. So why not dip your toes into its inviting waters and see where the currents take you and your students? After all, we're all makers, creators, and potential design thinkers at heart! Let's take the plunge together and shape a future that's not just functional and efficient, but delightfully human as well.


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