Starting new studies after years of steady working life can without doubt force you out of your comfort zone as it is. Enter the first course on a subject not familiar to the student at all – and see if you end up with innovative ideas and new motivation, or despair and feelings of incompetence. Luckily, the Design Thinking course by Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valenca resulted in the former.
The start of the two-day course gave us a summarised yet comprehensive theoretical base to build our knowledge and practical assignments on. To start with, my head was full of questions about what design had to do with my field – it sounded like something visual that graphic designers do, and working in hospitality I had not connected the theory fully to my own working environment and needs. Those questions started to fade as my brain began to grasp the idea of design thinking being applicable for different disciplines, assisting with not just visual but any design process and giving tools for developing all sorts of products or services. It was also a relief to hear that we do not need to be experts on design thinking to start to apply these practices and tools to our own fields of expertise.
After introducing us several design thinking models we learned more about the Evolution 62 model developed by Katja Tschimmel.
We had plenty of practical activities to familiarise ourselves with some of the tools of systematic design process. Familiar activities such as mind maps were happily accompanied by things like Lego Serious Play that made a couple of us giggle as some had not touched Legos since their childhood.
The theoretical framework combined with the exercises in small groups showed us how design thinking could assist us to better develop services in our own field. The two days with Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valenca opened my mind to how beneficial it would be to adopt approaches from the world of Design Thinking across different disciplines, and to continue learning I went on to read more about design thinking and service design.