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.

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