It has been a thrilling past two weeks in Design Challenge. Our students worked to apply the Design Thinking process for our Tikkun Olam challenge where they identify a "need knower," a person or group with a specific need. The students started with the empathy phase by creating a T-chart with perceived needs for their need knower. Students then worked collaboratively to develop a list of questions to ask their need knower. Some of our groups worked with individuals with disabilities while other groups focused on individuals in our school such as our financial secretary, cafeteria worked, and assistant principals. Each group developed a preliminary list of questions based on the perceived needs of their need knower. After interviewing their need knower, students returned and completed the final part of their T-chart to list the needs that they actually discovered. The image below shows the work of a group that chose to work with the cafeteria workers. This group discovered a need to identify the foods that students would prefer and a need for students to do a better job cleaning up the cafeteria after finishing their lunch. Another group who is working with students with disabilities determined that their need knower needed a better way to count money and make change. Several groups really struggled with identifying the needs of their need knower. This was due in part to not asking enough questions to dig deep enough. In other cases, it was due to their need knower not clearly identifying or sharing a need. This really challenged students to think hard about their need knower.
During the ideation phase, students generated possible solutions to the identified needs. We really pushed them to think more creatively about how to respond. It was interesting to see the various solutions that our students ideated. As we finalize our prototypes and complete our testing phase, I am excited about what our students will create. More importantly though, our students have experienced how the design thinking process can be applied to solve problems that impact others. The work that our students are doing is work that matters because it makes a different in the lives of other. This is the beauty of the Tikkun Olam challenge in that it heals the world and makes it better for others.
Note: In my next post, I will share the results of our challenge. Design students will share their work during our "True North Design Exhibition" on Tuesday, February 26 from 10 to 11:30 AM. Please join us. You can learn more and register for our the event at bit.ly/nrhsdesign.
The ideas shared here are my own and do not necessarily represent my employers, associations, or organizations. These thoughts are entirely my own.