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December 7, 2009

Posted by Muckzak in Design Thinking.

Design thinking… I’ll admit.  I know nothing of the sort.  I am taking this class because I realized after my first year at Haas that I’m here to learn new things – ideas, concepts, skill sets, etc.  There is a temptation to focus on refining my strengths.  Not only is it safe and familiar but it’s Easy.  As a full time grad student AND mother of an almost one-year old, Easy is an alluring proposition.  However, Easy is not what got me here in the first place.  So here I am – not quite sure knowing where here is but here nonetheless…

As a self admitted novice in design, the readings on Design Thinking were a good introduction to what we are even supposed to be learning about…  I have heard Tim Brown speak previously and the innovation cycle was discussed in another class.   As a finance nerd, it is hard for me to get my mind around such an unstructured process but yet, still, I admire it.  At some point professionally, I stopped exploring.  I’ve been rewarded for ‘doing’… but I think that as the budding philosopher slowly wilted away, a ceiling was built on what ‘doing’ can actually produce.   The Design Thinking article sparked a bit of curiosity. 

How can I start to think about things differently?  Prototyping intrigues me.  I am rarely the idea generator.  I am the idea implementer.  I wonder if playing with pictures and mindmaps and prototypes could tease out more of the ideas in my head.  I certainly think that incorporating diagrams and flow charts would even enable me to advance my professional development.  I often tweak my same little ‘box’ when developing new projects.  But maybe these tools might help me move to several different geometric shapes instead of the familiar four-sided quadrilateral staunchly constructed with right angles… 

The definition of the learning process as ‘applying the four steps of experiencing, reflecting, thinking and acting in a highly iterative fashion’ is well articulated.  More importantly, I agree that learning style is ‘not a fixed trait in an individual but arises from consistent patterns of transaction between the individual and his or her environment’.  I am learning much differently as a 30 year-old than I did as a 20 year old.  And I learn differently as a new mother than I do as a new employee within a company.  It’s interesting to think about how I can use these points of reference to engage in each quadrant of the Innovation Process.     

I often think of examples, such as the Fridgepack design or the evolution of the meaning of cleanliness, as common sense that isn’t that common.  It amazes me that simple solutions are so complex to discover.  I think both of these articles push me to use this class as a venue to keep thinking about the world around me and how I can uniquely dissect and contribute to it.



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