First use of Design Thinking

This week was one of the most interesting weeks we have had. I cannot speak for my entire Jobs cohort, but I feel like I learned the most this week due to many different reasons. First, we got into the field and did a kind of mock design thinking exercise where we interviewed Mrs. Domby, the teacher responsible for maintaining the garden at the lower school. The purpose of this interview was to see whether or not the “garden” at the upper school was worth keeping, or if the space would be better utilized for something else. The interviewers we nominated used the group’s questions which were questions like, “How have you and other faculty used the garden for education?” and “Tell me about a time where both you and the students were excited to learn due to the garden.” With everything that we did during this interview and before it, was utilizing the first two steps of Design Thinking. I really enjoyed this because, for the first time, I was able to utilize something that I learned in school, and use it to make a real world difference, even though it may be as small as a high school garden. Although we never actually made a difference, I feel like we had the tools to do so, and that is the first time I have ever felt like that. I felt like before the interview, our thoughts and ideas were slow and not very well developed, but after we empathized and did the interview, our thoughts flowed like water in a stream, all the while being complete and clear. Something that I think we could have done better was put “define the problem” before “empathize.” When we tried to define the problem the first day we did this, we visited the garden and empathized just a bit and realized the problem might be that there is a garden there in the first place, whereas before we visited it, we were talking about upkeep and how the cafeteria could use the products. Empathy is a vital step in the Design Thinking process that I don’t think should be tampered with, if anything, put more emphasis on it. As I said in a tweet a couple of days ago, “Using Design Thinking without empathy is like trying to eat soup with a fork.”

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One thought on “First use of Design Thinking

  1. Philip, thank you for this focused reflection. I am thrilled to read and learn that the design challenge (which is not yet complete – we just started!) has meaning and purpose for you. To know that we are applying our emerging knowledge to make an impact is a powerful and empowering feeling. And it is a set of actions that we can practice and keep getting better at doing!

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