Three Mini Design Challenges
We also did this activity in the other course around the three types of creativity. So you can do the same thing for your facilitation, either just copying this activity, or just telling the parable, telling the story at the end if you don't have time to actually go through these design challenges. If you haven't seen the other class the three design challenges were, first I brought up group one to build the tallest possible tower. And so this is the kind of creativity where you have a concrete goal, the tower had to be able to bear the weight of a smart phone. And there was also a limited amount of time. They had to do this in six minutes or less. Group two was illustrating a more artistic self expression kind of creativity. They had the same materials, but they had to build something beautiful. So that was subjective and I was the client. And the final group, the final challenge, was to connect the stage area with the audience. And so you may not have a stage where you're facilitatin...
g but the point here is to think more broadly. You don't have to literally build a bridge from where I'm standing to where you guys are sitting but it could be, you know, build something that connects point A to point B. And then it forces the students to think about, "Why do I need to make that connection? "Who's gonna use that connection? "Is it a social connection, is it a physical connection, "is it more than one of those things?" But it's a good practice in reframing a problem and asking why, and thinking about the motivations. So here is some snapshots from the activity from the other class. So this was the tower group, this was group one. They had to build a tower and part of their reframe, too, that they came to realize, is they didn't just have to use the materials, they could also use the packaging. They could use the containers that the materials came in, that also serve as materials to build the tower. For the second group they ended up building this hat for me, something beautiful, and they asked me about my preferences, my interests, and different activities. And we built that hat, and we actually prototyped the hat where I was able to wear the hat and give them feedback about it. The third group ended up building a couple different prototypes in the time that we had allotted. They interpreted connecting a stage with the audience in a couple of different ways. They built, they ran some tape from here to there. And that was a physical manifestation of connection, but they also distributed name tags using Post-it notes so that we could connect socially with each other and learn each other's names. So you can see how these different, very short design exercises, get us making things hands on, and get us thinking about why we're doing something, and how we can reframe a challenge. So then I tell the parable of the bridge. And that's based on the group three challenge of connecting here to there. If I ask you to connect one side to another side you may immediately rush towards this conclusion of, "Okay, well the solution's a bridge, "now it's just a matter of engineering. "Is is a stone bridge, is it a metal bridge? "How much material do we need, "how much weight do we have to bear?" But if we reframe the challenge we can think about the site, the context, and what we're designing for. Maybe in one context we don't need to build a bridge at all because it's too expensive, or maybe the bridge will disrupt the skyline of the city so we'll put in a ferry. Or maybe we can use a glider instead, and that will also connect point A to point B. Or we can also build a zip-line if the point is to have fun from one side of the jungle to the other. So there's all sorts of solutions to this connection challenge. So it's really thinking about how do you open things up to these different challenges based on the context, and asking why, and then opening up things to creativity. You don't need design thinking to build a better bridge. If you're literally building a bridge that's just a matter of engineering and optimization. The whole point of this design thinking method and mindset is to get people to reframe these challenges and think about them in new ways. So that could be, for example, working with a hospital service thinking about ambulances and how to get the ambulances to be more efficient and also be faster. And so that could involve researching how NASCAR deals with their pit crews because they also have to get cars serviced and ready in a very quick way. And so what can ambulances learn from that? So think about also creating these experiences for your participants where they learn about parallel worlds or industries that are not directly related to their design challenge so they can apply that and reframe their challenge. Another activity we did was a user interview. So I brought up a student and I interviewed the students. And this is also part of the discovery phase, so looking at the head, heart, and hand. And so you can do a demo too where you bring up a student and you do a demo. You could also do the good interview and the bad interview to show the dos and don'ts. So maybe the bad interview you just have a checklist and you're trying to check all the boxes of your interview questions. And then you do the good interview where you ask open ended questions that bring out stories, that bring out emotion from your interviewee. The point here is to ask these open ended questions, try to avoid these yes no questions, or things that have one word answers or else you're not gonna get the stories that you want.
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