Learning So Far

I would consider myself to be relatively well versed in Design Thinking. No, I’m not an expert, but I’ve been in Innovation Diploma for a year and I think I know the ropes.

This is what I would have said before starting this design challenge. I know the steps, the processes, and the buzz words that go along with Design Thinking, but until I really dug deep into this challenge I had never seen myself using it for something I was truly passionate about. At first, I was a little skeptical about the challenge. We had about a week first time around to come up with our first “prototype” and I wasn’t happy. I was really passionate about redesigning the way we recycle, and I felt like we had barely pin pointed the problem yet. So when the day that our first prototype was “due”, I wasn’t happy about it because it wasn’t “done” yet. Through my many years of school, I’ve always been taught that when things are due, they have to be “done”, but that is so incredibly wrong for Design Thinking.

By having us quickly get something together, it really helped get the juices flowing. I thought it would be a road block having to just put something together. I also thought that by producing something we would be moving entirely away from the empathy stage. But I was wrong.

I gained more insight and understanding about our issue by being pushed to “ship” our idea so quickly. I could have interviewed for a few more weeks to get more information, but what ended up happening is that I got the same amount of information simply by throwing my thoughts into some popsicle sticks and hot glue in hopes that people would be able to see what I was thinking.


This crude little model of popsicle sticks and hot glue actually provided a lot of insight into our first prototype, which really hasn’t change much from this.

So there are a lot things that I’ve learned from this challenge so far. Like the fact that you can’t recycle things with food on it, and that duck tape is really the answer to everything. But the thing that I’m taking away that goes beyond the details of this challenge is that we can get so bogged down by a process, or the concept of something being “done” that we are afraid to just get our thoughts out there for people to see. Yes, it was scary and rough having to get over the fact that the prototype really wasn’t ready in my eyes, but it showed me so much more about our challenge than any interview or observation could have done. Sometimes our best work isn’t the kind that we spend the most time on. It’s the work that has the most heart in it.


3 thoughts on “Learning So Far

  1. Pingback: Reflections from iDiploma on Design for Healthy Living Module | I wonder

  2. Your honesty as you talk through feeling like you understood design thinking as a process and then how you feel you’re continuing to develop those muscles shows that you are truly embracing the growth mindset. I love that! You also do a great job here helping others see the importance and value of early prototyping.


  3. Pingback: Reflections from iDiploma on Design for Healthy Living Module | I wonder | Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation

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