IDP 116 Reflection

In Reading Response by Anisha Tyagi

I am excited to practice design thinking. Since this is a week long class, I don’t plan or expect to become fluent in the language of design thinking. However, I am looking forward to asking the question that designers ask. It is so powerful to feel like you can change the environment around you, especially if you’ve ever felt dissatisfied that you must accept things the way they are.

Design thinking seems like a productive way to channel my empathy. I’m an empathetic person and my life goal is to reduce the suffering of those around me. I feel as though sometimes it is difficult to “reduce suffering” without having many fancy skills and degrees. That the process of prototyping is so accessible makes it much easier for me to channel my empathy into real change. Now, it’s true that maybe you do need to have fancy skills and machines to make really good quality prototypes, but to make social changes using design thinking is more accessible, so that’s definitely something I’m interested in learning more.

In the reading for today, the accessibility of change-making struck me as one of the important aspects of design thinking process. I can imagine feeling frustrated that social and cultural norms do not accept women who cannot breastfeed for whatever reason. Parenting is a touchy topic no matter where you go. I mean what can you even do? You can’t make the grandmothers change their minds. If that was possible, this world would be a beautiful place and daughter-in-laws would be jumping with joy. But if you approach the problem like a designer, kind of like the people in the story do, you can make a prototype that will actually make these mothers’ lives easier! You don’t even need to hit your head against the wall trying to get grandma to stop living in the early 19th century. By collaborating with one other, making several attempts and learning from each other, the designers are able to come up with a prototype that mimic breasts. Mommy is happy, baby isn’t hungry and grandma can go back to eavesdropping on the neighbors. I think that’s amazing.