Design Build Challenge Day 6: Ideate to Prototype

Now the work is really heating up. Student teams are diversifying. Some are working on storyboards, others on research, going back to their empathy maps, rewatching some of the client interviews, even looking up client businesses and correlating those with public transit routes, or getting a sense, through Google earth, of the larger context of client neighborhoods and communities.

One of the things I love most about Design Thinking is its integrative nature. As a champion of the liberal arts (see the mindmap of Prof. William Cronon’s “Only Connect: The Goals of a Liberal Education” above), I am enthralled by activities that draw on vast, and vastly different types of cognitive and physical work. Nothing I’ve ever done has approached that in the deep and meaningful/purpose-driven way that Human-Centered Design Thinking does.

I think Casey would agree. Please read her post.

Casey, Sophomore

As our class progresses through the Build Design Challenge, it is fully consuming our creative minds. Immediately immersing yourself in a person and attempting to decipher what they need, what their passions are, and what they internally struggle with is easy- on the surface. Building empathy for the four clients which we interviewed was quintessential in the design thinking process. Committing to the “Empathize” section of this challenge is without a doubt the most important action we as ethical thinkers must take to proceed towards a feasible solution. Diving deeper into body language, setting, and so much more truly tells us about our client. After each student chose one of the four people, we were put into groups who decided on the same client (I chose Sixto). Defining problems comes next. Through endless amounts of sticky-noting, our group selected issues or traits about Sixto that could lead us in the direction of innovation. As seen below, we were very generous in our Post-it collection.

After defining point of view statements, it was clear to see the priorities our group set for Sixto. Ideating took place the past two days. My group was able to use our chromebooks to sketch out our final idea and we are moving forward to research and prototype soon. I am slightly nervous about venturing into human-centered design, simply because we are humans. We have more similarities than differences and ultimately, the success and effort of our final idea is equally important as the next group. By working together and understanding varying mindsets within the group, it opens up more possibilities for inventive action. 

I am so honored to be part of a class that is as trailblazing as this one. I honestly feel anxious about this entire challenge because of that. Oftentimes, I make myself think that my ideas are worthless, and I will go nowhere in this space. This is all sprouted from my worried mind, but failure in terms of my own standards is a battle I constantly struggle with. I find myself feeling at home here, being, instead of simply existing. I stand by the fact that living an unapologetic and free life is good, but applying that concept to myself is difficult. Creativity seems like it just does not come easily to me. As I continue to grow here, I hope to shift my mindset. Going to Fluxspace makes me excited, because I have faith in the intelligence of my group. Being in that space will be so interesting. I can not wait to see what I am capable of. 

Passionately working is so different from working with the sole purpose of finishing. I commit my mind to openly creatingthroughout my life.

Casey, Sophomore

In reference to the cumulative project, the self-determined, Purpose-Driven project I want to explore in marking periods 2–4, I have had an idea for a few weeks now. Still, I find myself doubting it before I allow myself to create. I think this Build Design Challenge is such an important gateway to the final project. Passionately working is so different from working with the sole purpose of finishing. Often, we as busy humans are subjected to cram tasks into our day, instead of being truly infatuated with what we are doing. I sincerely hope I commit my mind to openly creating throughout the duration of this class, but also throughout my life. 

Published by Garreth Heidt

Designerly Minded High School Humanities and Liberal Studies Teacher Faculty Mentor FIRST Robotics Team #7414--PV Retrobotics. Constantly learning, trying to be more a maker and less a consumer of culture. I believe in the infinite value of a liberal education and the power of design thinking to help make the world a better place.

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