The problem space is located in a room in the library that has been made into a teaching classroom for small senior classes, due to the school growing rapidly and not enough other rooms being available. The room is very generic, with dimensions of only 6m x 5m, 7 tables, 14 chairs. The room has access to a data projector, a whiteboard, one power outlet and two walls that can be used. The third wall has large windows that have a strong glare from sunlight that has no blinds or curtains. The room is shared between three teachers across six different subjects; as well as an IT support room during 1st break. The challenge then is to come up with a space that will be flexible, and at the same time meet the needs of the users (the students and teachers).
Design is the link between creativity and innovation (Temple, 2010) and this allows ideas to become reality. With design being the process that converts ideas into something tangible (Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G., 2012, p. 103), it becomes crucial to understand the why and how to do design thinking. At the heart of design thinking is the user and this is reflected in many readings. Brown (2009) states that the insight into how people actually use things is central to design thinking, by observing what people actually do, noting what they don’t do, and understanding what they don’t or can’t explain about what they do. Brown (2009) also contends that designers need empathy to consider how consumers (students) actually experience things. Kuratko et al (2012) supports this when they state that design needs to keep the user in mind and include them in the design process to allow immediate feedback. Brown also further adds that ‘We need to learn to put people first’ (2009, p.39).
To discover a new solution using design thinking, it will require that there is a ‘collective ownership of ideas with sharing of responsibility’ (Brown, 2009). With this in mind, I need to involve both myclasses, and my colleagues and their classes, in the discussion/process. This will allow students to also be able to “deal with difficult situations and to solve complex problems in school, in their careers, and in life in general”. (Razzouk, R. & Shute, V., 2012, p.14). Design thinking requires acceptance of constraints and it can actually invigorate designers to come up with solutions (Kuratko et al, 2012). By embracing and recognising the constraints it allows you to explore what is technically feasible and commercially viable (Brown, 2009). At the same time, I need to remember some of the key attributes designers need like flexibility, focus, inspiration, proactive and humility (Kuratko et al, 2012). As design thinking is frequently cited as involving three parts (Seidel & Fixson, 2013) that develop with the constraints of feasibility, viability, desirability (Brown, 2009): Need-finding, Ideation, Prototyping.
To start the change, I will involve the different groups in brainstorming and observing how each class interacts with the space. Then we can proceed to trial a few changes to enhance the learning environment. The great beauty of design thinking is that, as Razzouk & Shute (2012) describe it, it is “an analytic and creative process that engages a person in opportunities to experiment, create and prototype models, gather feedback, and redesign.” The changes will be quickly implemented, and be adjusted as I gather feedback and iterate more.