Design Thinking as a classroom tool – Part 1

“It never about the right thing; it about the next thing. Humans lean into the future, and there is never a settling point. ” – The Runaway Species – Anthony Brandt & David Eagleman

In the first chapter of the book, to innovate is human, the authors, discuss various aspects of the brain and its need for innovation, change and play. “When the brain gets used to something, it displays less and less of a response each time it sees it…The brain gets excited when it updates.”

How do we cater for this in the educational environment? Research is indicating that the future we are preparing the children for is uncertain and their jobs and roles will be very different from what we experience today.

Designing thinking in the educational space will assist educators to prepare the students for this uncertainty.

IDEO is one of the most respected design firms, designers of the fat handled toothbrush for kids to Apple computers first mouse to the Palm V. Their secret to designing is empathy – a deep empathic understanding of people. The process is human-centred, beginning from a deep understanding of needs and motivations of people.

Innovation in the global economy will be the next differentiation point for today’s learners. Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, in the book, The New Digital Age, write the following “The most important pillar behind innovation and opportunity – education – will see a tremendous positive change in the coming decades as rising connectivity reshapes traditional routines and offers new paths for learning.”

If we do not adapt in our learning environments, students that feel stuck in school systems that teach narrow curriculums or only rote memorisation will have access to a virtual world that encourages independent exploration and critical thinking.

I believe that design thinking within the classroom environment is the next element of thinking that needs to be taught. “Today companies seem to have an almost insatiable thirst for knowledge, expertise, methodologies and work practices around innovation. ” – The Art of Innovation. The above quotation should then be our objective as educators to provide this kind of learning to our students.

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