Design Thinking #1: Workshop #1 by Dr. Arup Mazumdar @ Planning Forum – NM College

The Design Thinking interest group of the Planning Forum –NM college was initiated on 1st July, 2017 under the guidance of Dr. Arup & Ms. Madhulika Mazumdar.

Ironically, the primary question of “What is Design Thinking?” wasn’t the first touch points of the session, instead the centerpiece of DT “the user experience” & “the interest of stakeholders,” became the highlight of the session.

The undergrads who composed this interest group were stifled in the face of their own feelings, when Dr. Arup asked each participant to write their feelings in a few words on a paper-strip taped to their pockets. Figuratively speaking, the participants wore their feelings on their pockets & Dr. Arup read their personalities in a manner alike to pulling “a rabbit out of a hat.” This was followed by an activity where in the participants had to depict four triangles with the help of six pencils. The participants missed the answer by a dimension difference in perspective.

The focus of the workshop then shifted towards Leadership. What is Leadership? The answer to this question was a dual combination of “Things” with “Right!” Leadership, according to Dr. Arup is a dilemma between “doing Things Right” and “doing the Right Things,” and for a Leader the correct out would be “Doing the Right Things-” it is that skill of a person to do the things which are right for the organization & taking the leap of faith, undertaking the risk of what the future entails on making a particular choice.

The workshop was a journey of activities & the goal was to initiate the concept of Design Thinking. The pivotal introduction of the concept was brought in a unique way by presenting the interest group with a challenge – a case study on the Education System in its current state, the content of which was corroborated from various research papers and Dr. Arup’s own findings. The goal of this challenge was to accomplish a set-up wherein the ultimate User-Group or the Stakeholders feel involved evoking the vital Empathy.

Deliberating with this idea, the novice undergrads set out to Define the problem, seeking Solutions by writing any idea which crossed their minds on a post-it, applying the concept of Psychological Distancing and mobilizing the perks of Perspective for a Time-defined Process of two rounds each of 10 minutes.

At the end of everything, Dr Arup’s method of gauging the mind-sets of participants showed an evident shift in thought processes with the change in “words” being written by the “Designers” to describe their current state of being. From “Anxious, Excited, Intrigued, Enthusiastic and Perceptive,” the descriptions closed onto “Happy, Joyous, Satisfied and Aware.” The workshop in a single note provided the participants with a CREATIVE skill to appraise the benefits of an altruistic VISION and the importance of EMPATHY.

Innovation Insight #3: Asking the Right Questions – Extension of the Creator Philosophy

In Update #6, I mentioned Paul Sappho’s idea that the 21st Century is a Creator Economy i.e. unlike the previous 20 centuries, everyone will contribute towards the growth of the economy.

Now that we have established that every person in the economy is a “creator.” It is time for us to seek upward mobility by Asking the Right Questions – the answers to which will lead us to connect the dots as to what is it that we need to ask questions for.

Q1. Who is/are the most important person/people for a creator?

Is it our parents? siblings? Co-mates? Definitely, the love of our lives?
Nope, doesn’t ring a bell. It is the USER/USERs of his/her creation which in general should be perceived as the global community. I say so because narrowing down the scope by installing barricades at the porch of the ideation process stifles the reinvention capacity. Create a niche, sort of (exactly like!) a target market only after being convinced of a sufficient cause to eliminate them from availing your creation. Kinder you are in giving access, Stronger is the foundation of creativity.

Q2. What should be the mindset of a creator?

Most people urge the “creators” to “Think Outside the Box,” which is cent percent worthwhile but while doing so why are we absconding the avenues of FEASIBILITY. Each Creation is the product of a Creator’s vehicles of thoughts – organized in hyperventilation or serenity or at the beats of heavy metal! Such Creation’s objective is to add value and it’s worth is ad valorem. Keeping this in mind, I feel we should assess our environment, perceive what is in the box, understand what is lacking & what is fulfilling & then let us sojourn into the seas of REINVENTION, which to me, would expand (at least explain!) the paradigm of “Thinking Outside the Box.” Ergo the reiteration of the previous conclusion!

Now, that we have the pointers for “Asking the Right Questions” as “User/User’s feasibility” –> “Reinvention – Thinking Outside the Box” we can gauge that we need to ask questions for determining the User’s feasibility to engage with our creation & for us to instill creativity upto the “Reinvention” capacity such that the user can make peace with the externalities of our creation thereby evoking a balanced & sustained solution for the user in the long run.

Stay tuned to further this connection in an upcoming Innovation Insight Post…

Daily Feed #2: Insight into a new role – the way to do Right Things

This year, I ventured into a new role as the Head of Department of  Design Thinking & Business Innovation Dept @ The Planning Forum – an intra college association . After toying around with the concept to find a right answer for the question, “What is Design Thinking?” I found a sense of satisfaction after arriving at this meaning of Design Thinking – A tool which spearheads the process of creating ideas evoking “the user experience” at its centerpiece. 

Further introspecting into the component words – there is light at the end of the tunnel – Design is the portrayal of one’s vision for the product. Thinking is what you do when you novate. The entire process in a corporate set up is driven by the ultimate user experience. 

Astonishingly, the premise of my limited experience has been the two driving factors of Design Thinking – transplanting reality into innovation. Reality can be explained as the difference between you and the future you; both of “you” will know the reality but in a different horizon of time. Innovation is something with drives you towards the future.

A new perspective showed itself as I researched & attended workshops. Nobody can thrive on belief and ideas by itself cannot sustain. Let us not rush to think outside the box ; first – look what all is in the box. The next step is to reinvent those that you find in the box by applying the best of your creativity.