Learning Design thinking – did I do it right?

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Katja and Mariana, our inspiring lecturers

That was my main concern during the Design Thinking course. Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença familiarized us with practical Design Thinking. Katja gave us introduction to design thinking, its background, literature and visual models for design thinking process. We familiarized ourselves better with The Mindshake Design thinking model: Evolution 62. The two days of studying were full of inspiring activities to get to know Evolution 62 -model in action.

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stevton.com

For some reason I had difficulties letting go of my result-oriented mind-set to complete the activities. I tried to convince myself to focus on simply learning the tools and getting to know my new classmates. But still having the “right” answers to exercises and following the given instructions precisely were my main concerns. It was frustrating and energy-consuming. My goal to have the right answers was preventing me from actually embracing the full meaning of Design Thinking. Because Design thinking is neither art nor science nor religion, it is the capacity, ultimately, for integrative thinking. Design thinkers need to have a holistic view of the problem (Brown), as in this case the holistic view of Design Thinking instead of predicting the answers.

It must had been frustrating also for my group member to have me continuously question what were we actually ideating during the Evolution 62 process. Tim Brown emphasizes that in Design thinking, failure is totally acceptable as long as it happens early and becomes a source of learning. Well, at least I got half of the failure right. After the study days I felt I had failed trying to be a design thinker but when I read more, my failure became a source of learning. Brown wrote that behaviour is never wrong or right but it is always meaningful. He of course refers to people´s behaviour when observed for insights. But I decided to use this on my own behaviour analysis. What if my result-focused way of learning was actually a coping mechanism to deal with the new situation? I have no graphic skills and as visualizing is key elements in Design thinking, this was a big source of uncertainty. And as Design Thinking is a new field for me, I needed to follow the given instructions precisely to stay on board.

Dealing with incomplete information, with the unpredictable, and with ambiguous situations, requires designers to feel comfortable with uncertainty. (D-think) This is a goal I need to keep working for, but luckily Brown wrote something that gave me hope. Don´t ask “what?” ask “why?” Asking “why?” is an opportunity to reframe a problem, redefine the constraints and open the field to a more innovative answer. (Brown) This made me realize that I was actually doing the right thing by questioning our group work, but I was asking the wrong question. In terms of learning and design thinking I should had been asking “why?” to have the answer to convince me for my worry of us heading toward the wrong result and to grasp a more holistic view of the process.

So to answer my question from the beginning – I almost did it right!

Written by
Aino Saari

Service Innovation and Design MBA Student

Sources
Brown, Tim 2009. Change by design: how design thinking can transform organizations and inspire innovation. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Tschimmel, Katja; Santos, Joana; Loyens, Dirk; Jacinto, Alexandre; Monteiro, Rute & Valenca, Mariana 2015. Research Report D-Thinkhttp://blog.mindshake.pt/category/research/

4 thoughts on “Learning Design thinking – did I do it right?

  1. Hi Aino! Thanks for your refreshing text! Your way of reflecting your own experiences through the books you read is a great way of showing what DT is about: constant thinking and questioning (even/especially your own doing). Through questioning new doors will open. I can really feel your “moments of enlightment” when you found hope from Brown’s texts.

    I wouldn’t say you “almost” did it right, seems to me that at least in the end you did it just right.

  2. Well Aino, i think ”i know” what you’ re talking about. I myself do not posses great graphic skills and that is might be an issue in this field of study, so i understand exactly how you feel. Your way of writing though, clearly shows that you posses a series of characteristics needed to be a service designer. You have excellent emotional language, you recognize possible weaknesses of yours but you embrace uncertainty in a very constructive way. I thoroughly enjoyed your post!

  3. Hi Aino and thank you for your nicely written post. I guess many of us share your thoughts, at least I can totally relate to your thinking. It was a bit frustrating at times but then again I enjoyed the freedom and trust Katja and Mariana gave us.

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