I was already jazzed about design thinking before I started this class. But this past week has deepened my ability to go through the different parts of the process and also ignited my interest in applying the process to social justice, climate justice and other areas important to me. The emphasis on play, human centered-ness and ambitious design challenge-setting make design thinking so special. As I mentioned in class earlier today (perhaps not entirely eloquently), d-thinking allows us to be really intentional and self-aware when it comes to group process. During the past few days, people in my four person group have kept raising questions about our approach to the problem. Were we taking too narrow of a frame? Trying to do too much with our prototype? Too quickly attaching ourselves to easy answers to our problem? This intentionality is incredibly exciting and inspiring to me! As I mentioned in class, I want to delve into conversations about group-dynamics – being open about managing conflict and sharing emotions and past experiences with team members.
Another thing I discovered this week was: by approaching issues with the d-thinking glasses on, we can keep our user at the center and, through the repeated narrowing in and widening out of limits and scope, we can remain open to insightful, unusual solutions. For instance, during our wild ideation session towards the end of our Wednesday meeting, Zaza came up with the “compost necklace” that perhaps could store compost if you were away from a receptacle. This product was not at all feasible for us to develop as a realistic prototype – perhaps a bit pricey and impractical to use – but it does a good job of addressing the need for students to have some way of composting food outside of the dining halls. In this way, crazy ideas broaden the set of possibilities.
The space d-thinking creates for so-called crazy ideas cultivates vulnerability not nearly present enough in the classroom, especially here at Smith. Somehow there is pressure on students to always be right in all they say which eliminates risk-taking, connection and growth. Sometimes I fear that I am taught to become an excellent critic and to tear things apart proficiently, but not how to creatively build them up. So to be wild and suggest impractical, complicated ideas is fantastic. The world needs more “compost necklaces” – what I mean really is that we need to be more open, socially and emotionally and intellectually, with each other.