How Design Thinking struggles in education

in a is hard, especially when you’ve only been exposed to it in practice briefly (or in most cases not at all). I’m worried that young designers are missing out on proper facilitation of problem solving tools for their own processes and instead being misguided into frustration because they are not being afforded the opportunity to celebrate failure before they celebrate their successes.

Design Thinking is a methodology that is introduced to most young designers through education. For me, it was something I got to experience first hand through my year away of University in organizations such as Bosch Power Tools and IBM.

Design Thinking in both of these organisations was a toolkit for innovation that used designers as the facilitators of these processes. These experiences allowed me to witness how design was used to solve problems in the ‘real world’ — across two very different cultures.

In education this halo seems to slip. When there are no longer experienced designers to facilitate problem solving workshops, us students tend to panic — despite our best learnt lessons.

What I wanted this post to act as was a reminder for designers — students or otherwise. A reminder that although you may be deadline bound, grade pressured or peer pressured, it’s OK to get it wrong.

Because more likely than not you will be wrong the next few times and the next few times after that. But when you get it right, you know you would have established a solution built from a human approach.

We should do more to champion failure in education, to be advocates to why design thinking allows us more freedom to innovate. Because when we prove our processes work, we will trust them before we are sent into the real world.

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