Design Thinking Workshop at iHub

By Hilda Moraa
  Published 28 Mar 2012
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Design Thinking Workshop at iHub
It was a super cool and interactive workshop with Terry and Joshua from Stanford and Dan from University of Nairobi.  If you are a techpreneur,researcher, a designer and you did not attend  then you missed out! We learnt a bunch of interesting and eye-opening things. The workshop started off with an interactive session entitled ‘The Wallet Project’ , an immersive activity meant to give participants a full cycle through the design thinking process in as short a time as possible. The project itself gives facilitators the opportunity to touch on the fundamental values of the that include:
  • Human-centered design: Empathy for the person or people you are designing for, and feedback from users, is fundamental to good design.
  • Experimentation and Prototyping—Prototyping is not simply a way to validate your idea; it is an integral part of your innovation process. We build to think and learn.
  • A bias towards action: Design thinking is a misnomer; it is more about doing that thinking. Bias toward doing and making over thinking and meeting.
  • Show don’t tell: Creating experiences, using illustrative visuals, and telling good stories communicate your vision in an impactful and meaningful way.
  • Power of iteration: The reason we go through this exercise at a frantic pace is that we want people to experience a full design cycle. A person’s fluency with design thinking is a function of cycles, so we challenge participants to go through as many cycles as possible—interview twice, sketch twice, and test with your partner twice. Additionally, iterating solutions many times within a project is key to successful outcomes.
The second phase of the workshop, the team went out to understanding how designers approach problems to try to solve them, individuals and businesses will be better able to connect with and invigorate their ideation processes in order to take innovation to a higher level. Teams of 8 had interviews with ‘Mama Njoroge's’ to find out what they want and possible solutions. The teams got interesting findings such as:
  • Lack of proper roads to transport their products and services
  • Lack of storage facilities and lots of food wastage
  • Lack of an ordering platform to advertise and the vendors to get more traffic for their products
  • Insecurity and no community policing
  • No proper water and sanitation facilities
  • Insufficient capital and financing for business expansion

Summary points:
  • Point of view= user + need + insight, this is the anchor/focused challenge that grows from empathy.
  • Often you could build on a bad idea and get a good one that relates to it
  • Imagination! Empathy! Reframing the problem! Generate alternatives! Iterate based on feedback! Build and test!
  • Fail Early, Fail often then learn from that!
  • The fundamental way to test prototypes is by letting users experience them and react to as well as your perception of your users and their needs.
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