This week in IDP 116, I learned about the design thinking process and the fundamental concept that problem framing is key to problem solving. By studying the design thinking process of empathizing with the user and learning about their experiences, defining the problem using a point of view statement, ideating creative solutions to the design problem, prototyping the most promising and feasible solutions, and then testing these prototypes, I have learned that the formulation of the problem could be potentially more impactful that the solution, a key idea of the reading by Barry and Beckman.
As an engineering student, this class was extremely applicable and helpful in building on some of the topics that are critical to the Design Clinic Capstone experience, for example, recognizing a need, identifying stakeholders, and the concept generation and selection processes. I liked learning about the human-centered approach emphasized in this class, which allowed me to view the typical engineering design process through a friendlier, more approachable lens. This is mainly due to the empathizing portion of the design thinking process, where you observe and interview the user to gain a more complete understanding of the experience of the user, their needs, and their concerns on which to base your problem definition and eventually concept generation, instead of beginning your process based on the perceived needs of the user. This allows for a more comprehensive, complete, and appropriate solution that truly benefits the user and not the designer.
Overall, I wish that the class would allow for a broader topic selection, as opposed to focuses on learning technologies. I found this aspect of the course limited potential areas for investigation and did not necessarily mesh well with the diverse interests of the class.
As a second semester senior, I wonder how I will be able to stay involved with the Design Thinking Initiative and continue to hone my skills as a designer.