To help improve our design thinking skills, our facilitators have let us choose a design challenge, which we will research, prototype, create an experiment, and present. My group has chosen to encourage students to relax, increase community. and help students be themselves throughout the day. We got this particular challenge through interviewing Robert Jones, originally, then refined it through interviewing Maggie Wilcox, Mr. Kunath, AJ Whitney, and Ryan Hackett. Robert feels that lunch is the only time students are able to relax and be themselves, and we have chosen to incorporate this throughout our project. Maggie, however, would prefer a quieter space to work, but she does not like the classrooms because they are too structured and can be distracting. Due to this, she prefers the unstructured art room, a place where she can just paint or do work without worrying about interruptions. Ryan usually spends his enrichment in the lightbox or outside occasionally. For him, group work needs comfortable seating but needs a distraction-free zone for individual work. AJ is working on implementing a cafe, so we talked with him to try and discover the needs and users he identified to choose this idea. We also want to increase community, and knowing that people congregate around food, we want to increase the food students have access to so that student focus and community becomes more prominent. We have started researching and planning as well as receiving feedback. So far, we have interviewed students and teachers, and have redefined our HMW to “How might we encourage students to relax during the school day, build a community though the student body, and show who they really are?” Now, we are setting up our user-centric experiment to test out if our ideas can really work. Check out the post here!
This week, I discovered just how much I have strengthened my inner innovator and empathy muscle. We went around the school taking pictures of things to innovate (note: see previous posts with pictures), and the longer it went on, the more I could see things to change. And – to my complete surprise – I was taking pictures later that day and through the next without prompting simply because my mindset had changed. My work taught me to be able to see problems and more importantly, how to change them and find feasible solutions. My short-term efforts should still align with my long-term goals, as what I am learning in the short-term will impact how I accomplish my long-term goals. I do wish I had spent more time over the weekend “exercising my innovator’s DNA”, to help develop that innovator’s mindset. But, this was possibly affected by my uncertainty that I am not as creative as I would like to be. However, the longer I practice innovation and thinking creatively, the more I can clear the mental block that I am not that creative – because I am! Next week, I am going to start off fresh, reminding myself that I am creative, and to try and incorporate innovation and creativity in my life not only in iDiploma, but in my daily life as well.