Students discover a problem that needs solving. This may be a problem from history, from literature, in current events, a societal problem, or an everyday "life" problem.
Empathy is what we gain when we understand the view points of others. In design, this may be in terms of the needs of a product's users, or it may be in designing solutions to problems faced by people. We can access empathy in many ways across the content and beyond. This allows us to dig deep into things that people often do not associate with design, such as English and History class. By digging into the content, literature, stories, history, and such, we can begin to practice the skills of empathy and re-design solutions for problems throughout time and literature. We can also do this for social issues, and product development.
Once we have found a problem, and gathered empathy for those affected, we can define our focus for the work that will be done.
What is Design Thinking?
Design Thinking is the framework for our design and problem solving process at VIDA. The concept is attributed greatly to David Kelley, the Founder of IDEO - one of the world's leading Design Firms, located in northern California. The Design Thinking process provides us a common language for addressing problem solving, and gives students a consistent message and steps to take for engaging in problem solving.
Through this process, our students are first "problem-finders" and become "solution-designers."
The Design Thinking process will be integrated across the curriculum, with being specifically taught during students' Design Lab periods. The steps and process of Design Thinking will be reinforced in the content areas of students. At times a teacher(s) will take students through an entire design challenge, while at other times, specific aspects of the process will be emphasized in class activities.
Once we have defined the focus of our work, we can begin the ideation process. This is brainstorming, and this is where the need for creativity really comes in. We often say, "begin with the most obvious, worse idea" and put it up on an Idea Board. That means no other idea can be worse, and it builds the confidence of participants. Students may sketch, build, use a whiteboard, discuss, write or any other method needed to generate their ideas. In this process we consider the concept of "How Might We" statements to ensure hope, optimism and collaboration.
Once we have completed our brainstorm, it is time to design. At VIDA, this may be designing and actual product, it may be designing a robot or computer program to solve a problem, it may be a poem, or it may be a letter to a politician. It may be a process, it may be a fundraiser idea, it may be knitting, or organizing others into an event. As modeled by our Bedrocks, we are biased towards action and "doing" is a major component of our program.
Once we have designed a solution, it must be tested to determine the effectiveness of our innovation. Once tested, we reflect on the results, and the process to determine, "Am I done" or "Did I miss something?" We value grit and perseverance, it is okay to fail, as long as we never give up!