Introduction to Design Thinking: 31st January

On the 31st of January 2018, 13 students from a range of disciplines and areas of study gathered in a room in the FASS building for an exciting session, led by Amanda Brooks of the Enterprise Team. Inspired by her trip to Stanford University’s d.school and the Crash-course in Design Thinking hosted by Humera Fasihuddin from the d.school last year, Amanda was excited to lead her own Design Thinking session. The aim of the session was to help students try out a human-centred design approach to problem-solving, whilst developing their 21st century skills – creativity, innovation, collaboration and communication.

Human-centred design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions, tailor-made to suit their needs. It involves a five step process – the students worked through each stage to design a wallet for a member of another team.

 

1. Empathize. The process begins with empathy – understanding what the customer’s needs are. This was done through interviewing the customer, first on a broad level and then digging deeper to fully understand their requirements.

 

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2. Define. This stages involves making sense of what was learnt from the interview and identifying opportunities for design. Teams identified the goals and wishes of the customer and then worked to re-frame the problem into a point-of-view statement.

 

3. Ideate. This stage involved many a post-it notes and free flow of ideas relating to the design of the wallet. Following the free flow of all kinds of ideas, teams sketched out a few potential solutions.

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4. Prototype. This stage began by presenting initial designs to the customer for feedback. Then, armed with tinfoil, card, pipe cleaners, glue etc., the teams set about creating a prototype solution.

 

5. Test. Time to present the prototype to the customer and take on their feedback, has it met their needs?

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Overall, the session was very well received, some of the elements people expressed that they really enjoyed included:

“Engaging with people who share similar attitudes but have different methods of approach to ideas”

“Working with people from different backgrounds”

“Exercising creativity”

“The group discussion vibe”

“Working through a process with an end goal “

“The flow and ease of the process”

To see all of the photos, please visit our Facebook page. 

To find out more about Human Centred Design, check out this short video on IDEO’s website which gives a great overview.  The Enterprise Team are will be hosting more sessions like this in the future – so keep your eyes on our website, social media and newsletter!

Learning to create more a-ha! moments in learning

How do you learn? I learn through doing; a-ha..! Knowledge applied through reflection of a real life experience.

Learning to master ‘Creative Confidence’; sharing learning at Stanford d.School’s University Innovation Fellows Teaching and Learning Studio July 1997

Those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments come for me, more often than not, when I’m doing or trying something out; experimenting for myself or more crucially doing it with others.

I spoke to a university graduate and a current postgraduate student recently and they expressed a similar view. They described learning as not knowledge being poured in but in the application of new knowledge; both expressed a desire for more opportunities for active learning in the classroom, for discussion and collaboration across disciplines to share ideas and perspectives. ‘I want to know what I can do with this knowledge; my knowledge out in the world.’

We see that magical ‘aha’ moment a lot when students bring a problem or an idea to work through together in the Ideas Labs we run weekly in the Learning Zone during term time.

Working on your own idea is a motivated process of being willing to challenge your dearest held assumptions, experimenting to apply knowledge you have or new knowledge you have found, joining the dots to make sense of what’s needed to move forward and validate an idea as an opportunity. It’s about the search for desirability, feasibility and viability of a solution users want, need and will pay for; even just paying with their time; whether it’s a project, a social enterprise or a business venture of some kind.

The Teaching and Learning Studio at Stanford University is a place where educators from all disciplines experiment with new ways of engaging students using design thinking and experiential learning to solve wicked problems. The studio supports educators to develop strategies that help students develop skills and mindsets for the 21st century and I was very fortunate to be an awardee of the EEUK Richard Beresford bursary, a personal development fund for educators, which part funded a trip to the studio for the learning trip of a lifetime.

Fresh from d.School inspiration, I’m grateful for a whole new network of international colleagues to exchange ideas on shaping learning using human centred design that puts the student at the centre of the experience.  So forward thinking are they at Stanford d.School, that it’s an annual thing for educators to pitch their major and minor courses to students on d.School’s ’Pitch Night’…

I want to learn to facilitate more of those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments for students who come to the Enterprise Team’s Ideas Labs sessions. It’s about creating the environment for students to ‘try on’ mindsets and behaviours; practice being curious, resourceful, imaginative, questioning norms and assumptions, observing, ideating, making connections and big leaps to confidently create new solutions; seeing failure along the way as as the stepping stone to the next experiment…and that’s a tough one for us all to ‘try on’ in our practice.

It’s about the quest to develop all students as creative problem solvers;  ‘innovators’  in every discipline. This skill, rooted in creativity is needed in every shape and size of organisation to remain competitive and for employees, leaders and entrepreneurs to continue to find ways to create new value.

So what is Design Thinking and how does it relate to designing learning and facilitating learning experiences and how an it be used as a pedagogical tool?

Design thinking is a mindset. It is optimistic, collaborative, human centred and creative and it’s experimental. It’s the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and the design process empowers people to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education and in students heading out into a challenged global environment.

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Design thinking is a team sport and through small design challenges we and our learners can learn the attitudes and mindsets to collaborate and create, experimenting by framing a learning through design challenge, unpacking assumptions about the challenge or problem, exploring the problem space with users, defining a point of view about the challenge.

Through optimistic and energised ideation a design team can  learn to ‘turn off’ the evaluator mindset and generate ideas through divergent thinking; brainstorming, building on one another’s ideas, generating lots of ideas to create great ideas, and learning that sometimes seemingly wild ideas are the spark to something better; out of the box possibilities; solutions to wicked problems. Ideas are selected for development through voting and the design team builds to learn through improv and role play to imagine possibilities before building simple, fail fast mockups and prototypes to share with users for feedback. What works, what doesn’t..? Return to prototype… return to test… iterate…until ‘Ahah! We did it! Our solution has cracked the problem; what a feeling… ‘like something inside me changed.’

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The Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators contains the process and methods of design. Developed by the global design company Ideo, (Founded by David Kelley who also founded Stanford’s d.School). The toolkit offers new ways to be intentional and collaborative when designing educational experiences, and empowers educators to create  impactful student centred learning solutions, but also to integrate design thinking into problem based learning as a creative problem solving process. The process empowers students to get creative, starting by solving simple human centred challenges to prepare them for tackling seemingly insoluble challenges.

‘Educators from across the world are facing design challenges every single day, from feedback systems to daily schedules. Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale – the challenges educators are confronted with are real, complex, and varied. And as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches. Design Thinking is one of them.’ Ideo.com

What was woefully missing in my education, and my daughter’s after me, were those serendipidous ‘A-ha’ moments in learning, and it’s this creative, human agency, I now believe that is at the heart of our work as educators. We have a short window of opportunity to intentionally develop learners as creative problem solvers, innovators and value creators beyond their discipline; skills for living and for lifelong learning.

‘Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’

Benjamin Franklin

My thanks first to Humera Fasihuddin, (Maker of movements that start small) Co-Director, University Innovation Fellows at Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford ( d.school ) for answering the call to learn from ‘Creative Confidence’ and calling in to Lancaster University to kickstart our movement. You made possible a world of change in us that day and for the creative confidence of many more in the future.

Thank you to  Enterprise Educators UK for part funding this learning experience with the Richard Beresford Bursary. More details on how to apply here.

Resources:

Teaching innovators can download Design Thinking for Educators here.

A Canvas to design learning here

Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘Whats the point of creativity at University’ here.

Become a Creative Problem Solver

Crash Course in Design Thinking with Humera Fasihuddin from Stanford University’s d.school

If you are interested in developing the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to address complex challenges and compete in the economy of the future, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

At Stanford University’s, d.School, San Francisco they believe everyone has the potential to be creative and become an innovator. Through experiential student centred, team taught learning experiences, they help people from all subject disciplines to develop their creative abilities and use design to collaborate, solve challenges and create change.

No matter what you are studying at Lancaster, we invite you to immerse yourself in a one off Stanford University d.School experience with Lancaster University Enterprise Team and their guest, d.School’s Humera Fasihuddin.

Passionate about design thinking, Humera is involved in a number of innovation programmes at Stanford including ‘University Innovation Fellows’, a community of educators and students from around the world who are leading a movement and becoming agents of change using design.

In this bespoke ‘Design Thinking Crash Course’  you will experience how d.School teach design thinking by participating in and experiencing a full challenge driven design cycle.

Empathise, define, ideate, prototype, test… this will be hands on team action learning session and something totally unique.

We hope you will take away some of the basic principles of Design Thinking, start to adapt them into your personal routines, and feel inspired about new ways of understanding and tackling future business, sector and world challenges.

With your new perspectives on your potential you can experiment after this session in our weekly IdeasLabs sessions on Wednesdays in the Learning Zone.

Take a look at the sort of things the d.school do: d.school Bootcamp: The Student Experience

When? Wednesday 17th May 10am-12:30pm

Where? Management School Collaboration Suite (Lecture Theatre 10)

Book a Place: This event is open to all but places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Secure your space now on Target Connect! Students who book a place are expected to attend and give at least 24 hours notice of cancellation.

This event is delivered as part of the U Start Project – part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.