Earlier this year One Workplace and Project Frog held an interactive event for educators, administrators, architects, designers, and everyone impacted by learning spaces. The event was a huge success attracting nearly fifty people to our Oakland Center for Active Learning. The focus – exploring the design thinking process and how it can help shape our understanding of problems and identify innovative solutions to challenges.
We are big believers in the concept of “show – don’t-tell” and we applied this idea in creating an interactive workshop where our guests could learn about the design thinking process in a hands-on and tactile way.
Attendees engaged their peers in a half day of activities, brainstorms, and prototyping all focused on creating solutions for educational challenges. The key caveat however was that participants had to first gain empathy for the users of educational space – and the solutions they generated had to address each specific user’s needs. One Workplace’s Christopher Good led the workshop, guiding this group of future design thinkers through the process. The day’s activities began with improvisational exercises fostering a “Yes-And” attitude among the participants. This was followed by activities designed to better understand the challenges we face and tools used for gaining empathy for our end users. Far too often we jump to conclusions based on our own experiences and forget that innovative solutions must take in to account perspectives beyond our own. The workshop culminated in an hour long prototyping session where each newly generated idea was tested through a physical model, skit, or interaction with an end user.
Inspired by the methods of organizations such as IDEO, Radford University, and Stanford’s d. School, the workshop presented easy to implement ways of engaging people in the collaborative design process. “How Might We?” became the question of the day as participants shaped their challenges in a positive manner – and through the lens of their unique end user.
Workshop guests were inspired by the activities and tools they learned through the workshop, identifying opportunities to utilize this process at home or in their daily work.
“I liked that the process modeled what we can do with our own staff to grow creativity and collaboration”
“The risk taking and feeling comfortable with like-minded people”
“The one-on-one experience was enriching because it permitted me the chance to be curious and ask questions.”
There are an incredible number of obstacles that educators face within the classroom environment. With so many factors competing for their time, it is no wonder educators are often stressed-out and their resources stretched thin. All teachers work toward providing the best education possible. However, when teachers spend much of their time trying to work around obstacles, they divert efforts and energy away from their mission—teaching and improving the lives of students. It is an exciting moment when teachers see how the Design Thinking process of problem solving can be applied to their own challenges. Everyone is, and can be, a designer.
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To learn more about design thinking, or our workshops contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org