On Monday, Parker teachers played with a way of problem solving called design thinking. Guided by Josie Holford, the Head of Poughkeepsie Day School, we learned to frame problems in new ways in order to uncover empathy and insights that lead to innovative and creative solutions.
Design thinking is a concept best described through work from the d.school at Stanford and IDEO. It
is participatory and collaborative and turns traditional brainstorming on its head.
In one activity we broke into pairs to interview each other about our experience of using the Parker library and what problems we encounter in this highly used room. We broke our partner's response into defining words, beliefs, actions, and feelings to get at the root of the problem - to uncover their real needs and perhaps gain some surprising insights. After several rounds of clarification we each designed a solution to our partner's problem using cardboard, scrap paper, tape, scissors and pipe cleaners.
Voila! Creative solutions for a better library experience that we would not have otherwise uncovered. And of course the fun of playing with "stuff".
Educators are beginning to embrace design thinking as a way to teach students to look at problems differently - and to solve the problems of schools themselves. Already this morning Parker teachers used design thinking to help middle school kids create rules for phone use in school. Timely!