I have been marinating on an idea that got sparked when I was walking in a public “educational & touristy” space last week.  Fast forward to now, I have a design thinking project for this space in the works and this idea I have been marinating on is really ready to hit the grills.

So the idea?  What if the problem was already identified.  What if there are problems actually listed out in a direct, exact fashion?  What if your students are given a list of identified problems with an defined point of view statement and they got to choose which problem to explore and solve?

Are you scratching your head yet?  I mean isn’t that what design thinking is, problem-solving?  Yes but 🙂 In the purest most organic way, design thinking is really about problem finding through encounters with people that are NOT you. Design thinking is about gaining understanding of another person’s point of view, their story and there lies the opportunities for design. Its not shovel-ready, pre-packaged problems waiting for solutions…. Or is it? Or could it be a yes, both opportunity?

Life is full of constraints:  $, access to resources & talents, time, knowledge, technical understandings, geography, etc  As a design thinker, I need to keep in mind the constraints in which my users are learning and doing design thinking.  Time & time are the biggest constraints I have found to be the very big hinderance and headache for wanting to truly immerse themselves into the design thinking space. Some teachers, some schools, some organizations have more time while others are say limited to a 45 min, once a week class on design thinking.  How can design thinking truly be experienced, learned, understood, and create “scalable” impact within such a constraint?

I am a firm believer it is NOT design thinking without Empathy + People.

That being said, what if origins of design thinking challenges could fall into say three buckets?

Below is my attempt to visualize these buckets…  I have more marinating to do and this post is incomplete yet long enough to hopefully get you thinking… More to come! (by the way my preference is experiencing organic design thinking challenges but majority of the time I find myself facilitating Plotted dt challenges)