Design Thinking For Kids And Teens

Design Thinking can push us to be a part of creating a better future and help us to face the challenges life bring us taking the right decisions.

Kids at the schools can begin being the designers of the world’s future. They will be the influencers and the empowered to make the changes happen. Design thinking is a great tool for them to study and create solutions for the world.

Collaboration in the education is very important and design thinking for teachers is helpful to provide new solutions and creativity at the schools. Teachers have a great task, preparing people for jobs that they don’t even now exist yet, preparing for problems that don’t know where they are going to in the students’ life and preparing the careers of the students.

But also, it is very important and challenging for the future of students keeping optimism high. This is so critical! Optimism is part of our emotions and it is necessary to face continuously challenges.

Classrooms, schools and universities across the world are facing every day challenges that can be solved creatively with design thinking. This tool will help to approach these challenges with new perspectives, new ideas and new solutions.

The design process has different phases: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation and evolution. Each one of them helps to put Design Thinking into action generating and developing new ideas in a well-structured way.

When we use this tool, we usually have a challenge that we should approach. After it and once we have learned something about it, we need to interpret it. With an open mind and freedom likely we will see an opportunity. That’s the moment where we can create something new and coming with new ideas. We should experiment that idea building a prototype and finally evolve it planning next steps, communicating the idea to people who can help to realize it, and documenting the process.

Design Thinking requires considering real world problems, research, analysis, coming with new and original ideas, experimentation and even building things by hand. I know it is very difficult to integrate these processes in the daily life of schools and universities.

This approach together with some important qualities of an effective thinker can motivate and inspire. We need people motivated and able to inspire others to provoke enough enthusiasm that brings innovation to success. Through this we can build some leadership skills and initiative to the students.

Meeting deadlines in a design process also requires some discipline. It is important that our students practice how to monitor the progress through classical techniques like time and project management.

Observation, asking and listening will enhance to facilitate Design Thinking. It is necessary that students obtain some abilities to interview and by this way understand the power of these three skills.

Students must learn that new information is essential for the process, so they will perform on-line research and identify experts who provide them all the necessary information to advance. At this time, they will develop deep empathy to be immersed in the user’s experiences.

Prototyping and getting Feedback are linked together in an iterative cycle that will provide the best solution. At the end Design Thinking is oriented into action. If we are able to build some objects that are tangible, they will allow students to get more feedback from users before they prepare the last and best version. Experimentation together with the failures they have are very valuable as additional information and will contribute to the success.

When students obtain feedback about their prototypes they can ask themselves, should we change our prototype? Do we need more information? Should we start again?

Kids and Teens learn best through making so if they are actively engaged designing and creating projects that help them to explore concepts they will be closer to achieve new ways of thinking and designing.

From kindergarteners to college students Design Thinking is a way to make people more effective and to get out their innate capabilities.

Design Thinking With Culture Differences

We are used to the developing of new products and innovating in different areas of our companies but, have we ever considered that cultural diversity and multiple countries can make a difference when designing our products and processes?

When we implement an internationalization process we have to scale our businesses considering our customers, products and even our business model. We also have to defend our position in new economies and compete with strong local players.

Our great weapon, although some managers can think different, is innovation. If we have for example a product very innovative that really fits the market where we are implementing our strategy to internationalize, we really have a great competitive advantage.

When we develop an innovation culture inside our organizations we can discover more easily profitable business opportunities. Design thinking can help us bring new products to new markets taking into account cultural differences like own language, different dress, traditions, lifestyle, designs, food, customs.

Before you start with a session of Design Thinking try to define between three to five characteristics of the culture or country you want to develop your organization. Above that, you can also consider which industries are in development or with very positive perspectives of growing to decide that internationalization process.

To be successful in other countries and cultures you need your organizations to operate excellently. Most economies are demanding extremely high quality products, so you should not consider second level brands to move forward in new emerging markets or in developing economies.

Design Thinking will help you with the appropriate approach with your customers in those markets. In the case of applying the five steps of DT you can improve considerably the results in the market. DT is a great tool for it. So empathize with your customer. It is very important to observe it in the work and market place. Define the real topic. Brainstorming and creating new and innovative ideas. Don’t lose time, prototypes are key in this stage. Time to test all what you created, obtain feedback, and iterate.

When you are in a different market, events happen in a different way as we can expect. Observing behaviors of the markets and customers will be crucial to be successful. We will gain the cultural differences they have if we compare with ours. In our Design Thinking process, we must consider all those differences to be really innovative facing market challenges. I would recommend that our managers, marketing staff and sales organization become in charge of the observation activity. It will feed them with relevant information.

Putting in practice all we learn with Design Thinking brings us to emphasize in benchmarking with our local competitors. How important it is to observe local and foreign competitors! They will give us new ideas in our offer portfolio.

We need very flexible organizations to face the challenges other markets can offer us. So, think always when you involve your team in a Design Thinking activity where cultural differences could affect your decisions. Don’t try to introduce your customs in different countries. Try to adapt your way to those other cultures.

Testing and trying ideas, obtaining the right feedback from the market and your customers and then iterating will be essential to be successful with your development in other economies.

Technology, Digital Transformation, Glocalization and Cultural Diversity will shape the new business landscape of the future. Don’t hesitate to learn and prepare to go beyond your borders. The world is not so flat.

Design Of Thinking: How To Bring Teams To Success

Genuine teamwork remains as elusive as it’s ever been, that is what says Patrick Lencioni, founder of The Table Group.

Since ancient times we have been researching to understand human behavior. We like to know and understand what people do, how they do it and why they do it. We, as human beings, always tried to observe in ourselves and others.

Different civilizations described human behavior according to different methods and systems, until modern psychological schools came. William Moulton Marston developed a new model in the twenties of the last century to help understanding how normal people felt and behaved in the world around them.

Interacting individuals gives a big chance for all of us in our daily activities. We usually need to pay serious attention to our patterns of behavior and the different models we find in our businesses. So we have to design how we think, but above that, how we interact in our teams and what happens with our relationships.

There are two main concepts to consider very important. Perception and Environment and how they interact, how we see others, circumstances, challenges, chances and events. This would be the external vision. But the perception of oneself is also very important when we compare our own power with the environment. This is how we see the environment around us, more or less powerful.

When we create, develop and build teams, we need to consider different approaches and at the same time to understand that people have different views of the same situation. None better than the other, each style is somewhat unique and different, just like our individual fingerprints, but they provide richness and completeness to the different situations. If everyone would view the situations in the same way, people would not enrich with diversity offering different perspectives and solutions.

Different patterns of behavior have different perceptions of the environment and self, so each one of these behaviors try to adapt themselves to the environment they perceive. Teams are built with different styles, so the leader will have to understand it to manage them effectively and balance them enhancing them with some behaviors that bring together all members of the team.

As I said on my last post, “Telling Stories with Design of Thinking”, our believes will determine our thoughts and these will make real our feelings. This will define our personality and finally our behavior will define the result of our actions.

Team building has different stages, and most likely, different behaviors would be the best to connect with those different stages. So if we are in a forming stage, we need team members more enthusiastic, team oriented, with a dimension of behavior that considers the environment favorable.

When we achieve the storming stage, which is probably the most difficult stage for the team, group members realize that the task is more difficult than they had imagined and express their individuality through hostility and overzealousness.  In that period of time we will need as leaders to manage the team developing the commitment and accountability in a strong way to succeed. Different patterns of behaviors, which they are the dimensions, behave in a different way in front of commitment and accountability, so we will have to lead them to achieve those ones effectively.

But previously, managing conflicts in a positive way will be definitive to overpass all the difficulties in that stage.

During this next stage, norming, members accept the team.  The team starts to develop and become cohesive.  Realizing that they aren’t going to drown, they start to work together to keep each other afloat.   Trust development, based on vulnerability, will bring high level of intimacy, through sharing and discussion, and new abilities to express emotions and give constructive criticism.

Performing is the last stage, and results are coming. Members of the team perform as a unit and have discovered and accepted their various strengths and weaknesses, but also the different styles and behaviors that make a unique, cohesive and balanced team.

Leaders are responsible to achieve the effectiveness and alignment of the team. Managing team members, knowing and understanding the different dimensions of behavior, will facilitate the impact on the team results.

Leaders cannot change the way of thinking of team members but they can enhance the performance of the individuals and the team, understanding the different team member’s dimensions of behavior and themselves.

In these times of deep and rapid changes we need to pull our heads out of the sand and design new ways of thinking.


Telling Stories With Design Of Thinking

We design products, solve problems, define value propositions, incorporate storytelling in our marketing efforts but we also should design the way we think.

We are not conscious of our mental models but our values are the base of our believes. These ones will determine our thoughts and these will make real our feelings. That’s why is so important how we think as individuals and what happens inside our heads.

As individuals we have different levels of competence and to be great designers of our thoughts we need to achieve unconscious competence. This will require to iterate with our prototypes and tests until we can achieve that excellence.

One of our main method of communication has been telling stories. Along our history, since ancient times, human beings told stories even through paintings. Stories can put your brain to work and can influence in our decisions.

Anything you’ve experienced, you can get others to experience the same. Or at least, get their brain areas that you’ve activated that way active too. Our stories make up 65% of our conversations.

In a 2006 study published in the journal NeuroImage, researchers in Spain asked participants to read words with strong odor associations, along with neutral words, while their brains were being scanned by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. When subjects looked at the Spanish words for “perfume” and “café” their primary olfactory cortex lit up; when they saw the words that mean “silla” and “llave” this region remained dark.

We link up metaphors and literal happenings automatically. Everything in our brain is looking for the cause and effect relationship of something we’ve previously experienced.

When we face with business problems or other kind of business situations, we usually face with design challenges where design thinking can help us very much.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools for achieving immediate results and it will be very useful in our Design Thinking activities. Leaders can use it to turn dreams into actions and finally getting goals. When we tell stories, we must be convinced about them, we must feel them as own to share with others with authenticity. A story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.

It is also very important to tell the stories in different circumstances in different ways. You cannot repeat the same story without adapting to the moment and the audience.

We like that others adopt our stories as their own. This is the feeling you have when a friend tells you a story and a couple of weeks later you tell him the same story as if it was your great idea. This is the best way how to get people on board with your ideas.

Peter Guber, film producer, defines this very well in “The Four Truths of the Storyteller”, when he considers The Truth of the Teller, The Truth of the Audience, The Truth of the Moment and The Truth of the Mission.

The frontal cortex area of your brain is responsible to experience emotions and only is activated with words and sentences that move you. This is not merely an opinion; this was many times researched and proved that metaphors have a bigger impact on individuals than more common words.

You should remember all these concepts each time you create your own story.