Recently, we facilitated a couple of #DesignThinking workshops for Computer Science students. We kick-started the session by ‘cautioning’ the participants by saying ‘moving around and making noise’ in the hall are perfectly OK. Then participants were grouped into different teams. After introducing the Design Thinking & Human-centered approach with the help of Jhumkee Iyengar’s course material, each team was given a design challenge. One such challenge was ‘Solution to teach English to working rural women in 30 days’. More such socially relevant topics were identified and were given to participant teams as design challenges.
Before beginning the session, we highlighted one of the key excerpts from ‘Karimanifesto’: “Experience is the most important part of living, and the exchange of ideas and human contact is all life really is”
Later, we introduced them to the power of story-telling by sharing a quote from the cognitive scientist, R.C Schank.“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories”. Thus, they were strongly motivated to use creative arts as part to express their thoughts(by the way, each team had an artist!).
Not surprisingly, during these workshops, we were awed by the participants’ energy level and enthusiasm. Was it because of the #Human-centered design concept? Or was it because of the format of the sessions? I think it was both.
Here are the key take-aways:
Introducing Human-centered design/Design Thinking problem solving technique to under grad students immensely benefits them
This encourages them to research, brain-storm, apply, innovate, co-create and more importantly, focus on doing than telling
Encouraging the participants to use their local-language during team discussions helped them to be informal, open and productive
During the brain storming sessions, teams were asked to be open for weird, out-of-the box-ideas, debate and shortlist them. This helped teams to come out with some innovative ideas
In a short window of time, the participants could interview many users, research, ideate and show the prototype. Overall effectiveness and output of workshop-based technique are higher in comparison to traditional methods.