Our primary school library has been recognized as in need of renovation, however, the renovation is included in stage 3 redevelopment of our school. In the meantime, problem spaces abound, and waiting for the renovation is an opportunity. The design process can convert problems into opportunities! (Kimbell, 2011, p. 294, precis of Brown, 2009) The problem space that I have chosen includes where iMacs are located, facing a TV + Apple TV. The area is cluttered, unappealing and underutilized [especially during lunchtime when students are ‘overflowing’ in the library]. Being underutilized seems to have emerged as an excuse for the space to regularly become a dumping ground. The time is right for some design thinking.
This learning space has been a general traditional designed teaching space , with added technology [an interactive whiteboard has been replaced by an Apple TV + TV]. Despite this, the “dynamics of the design” of this type of learning spaces has not altered as noted in JISC (n.d., p. 10). The learning space design should support the development of the ‘4Cs’ of 21st century skills of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. However, with students by-passing this space when given the choice, it is clear that some thinking on its design is paramount. Challenges in space design have changed: Brown (2009, p. 29-30) notes the rapid technological changes and the increased complexity of issues. This is in direct contrast to the design of the space in this library, where time-lapse photography would only show minor tweaking.
Having a design process puts design thinking into action through giving a structured approach to generating and developing ideas. From my reading, I have taken these points to underly my design thinking:
- Brown (2009, p. 16) describes the process as a system rather than steps, as the process is non-linear: inspiration [problem or opportunity]; ideation [generating, developing and testing]; implementation [‘project room’ to the ‘market’].
- Design thinkers know that there isn’t a correct answer to a problem/opportunity (Kimbell, 2011, p. 294), and a non-linear process supports this.
- Razzouk & Shute (2012, p. 182) suggest that the process can sometimes be chaotic. Applying design thinking to this problem space firstly means generating lots of ideas, through divergent (Brown, 2009, p. 56).
- Brown (TED Talk, 2009) discusses the divergent choice, as a new way of tackling problems, as opposed to convergent thinking, as in times of change new choices are needed because the existing ones are obsolete.
- Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby (2012, p. 117 – 119) discuss their secret sauce: play – display – watch the replay.
With this in mind, how to begin? How to begin to think like a designer? Brown (2009, p. 5) sees the power of design “not as a link in a chain, but as a hub in a wheel”. That hub could be considered as the human-centred approach, and the core capacities that Brown (2009, p. 4) believes are often overlooked: being intuitive, recognize patterns, construct ideas with emotional meaning and functionality and the capacity to express via media other than words or symbols. Razzouk & Shute (2012, p. 340) suggest that inexperienced designers approach the task through solution assumptions instead of analysis. This is applicable in this case, as I am a raw novice!
My initial generated list of changes are mine alone, as consultation with the student stakeholders has not yet occurred. Their involvement is necessary to ensure the design thinking process is human centred. However, the initial changes can occur prior to consultation because they are obvious and have been met favourably by senior leadership.
- First step – de-clutter the space, remove excess technology and recycle what is no longer required.
- Next, remove the old and dirty/dusty vertical blinds. [Problem – what solution to remove the winter glare?!].
- What if this space for our Makerspace?
- What if it overflowed to the verandah? [visibility and supervision will increase with the removal of the blinds].
- Signage – ideas and possibilities? Furniture – ideas and possibilities?
- Limited/non-existant budget – ideas and possibilities?
- Investigate the notion of the “third teacher” – ideas and possibilities?
- Layout and limitations – ideas and possibilities?
The process will continue.
Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. HarperCollins: New York.
Brown, J. S. & Duguid, P. (2000). The social life of information. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
JISC. (n.d.). Designing spaces for effective learning: a guide for 21st century learning space design. Retrieved from www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/JISClearningspaces.pdf
Kimbell, L. (2011). Rethinking design thinking: Part 1. Design and Culture, 3(3), p. 285 – 306. Retrieved from http://www.designstudiesforum.org/dsf/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/kimbell_wm.pdf
Kimbell, L. (2012). Rethinking design thinking: Part 2. Design and Culture, 4(2), p. 129 – 148. Retrieved from http://www.designstudiesforum.org/dsf/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/kimbell2-berg.pdf
Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. Boston : Pearson.
Razzouk, R. & Shute, V. (2012). What is design thinking and why is it important? Review of Educational Research, 82(3), p. 330 – 348. DOI: 10.3102/0034654312457429
Stonehouse, A. (2011). The ‘third teacher’ – creating child-friendly spaces. Putting Children First, Issue 38, p. 12 – 14. Retrieved from http://ncac.acecqa.gov.au/educator-resources/pcf-articles/P12_ChildFriendlySpaces_Jun11pdf.pdf
Comments on other blogs
On Monique’s blog – http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2014/08/01/blog-task-1-inf-536/
On Katie’s blog – http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/polis/2014/07/30/blog-task-1/
On Margo’s blog – http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/margo/2014/07/30/blog-task-1/