In the lead up to this course, my friend Matt Ives tweeted me something along the lines of “get ready for some mind-crunching fun!” From that moment on, I knew I was in for a challenge and it’s fair to say, this subject definitely didn’t disappoint.
My experience with design thinking had been very limited to this point. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate in the Google Teachers Academy and it was there that Tom Barrett and Hamish Curry gave me a crash course and instilled an interest still present today.
My growth throughout this course could be described as exponential. What I relished the most was the ability to demonstrate my growing understandings of the design literature as the course progressed. This began with a small blogging task which still managed to stretch mind. In fact, there hasn’t been an assessment where I haven’t been pushed in some way. One of the first readings really resonated with me and helped me get into the designer’s mindset was Brown (2009) where he declares “fail early to succeed sooner (p. 17). While I was never keen on failing this course, it did reinforce that I need to take risks and learn from feedback as highlighted by Kuratko et al’s discussion of “display”(p.119). And so I blogged! It showcased my first design project (class seating plan). This assessment allowed me to think critically and follow a process that enabled me to create an effective learning environment. The second blogging assessment drove me deeper into the design thinking rabbit hole and helped me understand how designers use empathy. At the time, in our second of two Google hangouts with Jacques du Toit and Lara Bance I found myself describing items in a coffee shop that could be used for more than one purpose but then discounting it immediately. Lora reminded me of Kuratko et al’s. (2012) research where they call on the use of restriction free thinking to avoid premature judgements (p. 114).
I found that I was learning greatly with the participatory nature of the course. In week four my contributions to discussions by regular blogs was altered significantly with the birth of my second child!! While I’ve managed to stay on top of readings, this definitely impacted my participation in suggested activities and as well as the discussion board. I have still managed to have regular Google Hangouts with Jacques du Toit where we deconstruct readings and assessments.
One thing that I’m grateful for is the exposure to new ideas. Jake Knapps “war rooms,” Geoff Mulgan’s studio schools, Pixar’s Braintrust all have had an impact on me and it’ll be interesting to see how I can incorporate their ideas in my teaching, after all, parody inspires great design (Schrage, 2013).
If looking to quantify my growth in terms of my understanding of design thinking, I’d say that my formal assessment pieces wouldn’t be a strong reflection on this. Instead, I’d look no further than my newly realised designer’s eye that is now refusing to close. It’s constantly examining and evaluating; leading me to ideate new processes for services and products. Supported by a growing competence in design theory, I’m happy to report I’ve learned quite a lot during the past 12 weeks.
Brown, T. (2009) Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Summary by Get Abstract. Retrieved from: http://www.getabstract.com
Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration : Transforming organizational thinking, 103-123. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf
Schrage, M. (2013). How Parody Inspires Great Design. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/02/how-parody-inspires-great-des