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Design Thinking for kids

"How can parents bring the creative problem solving process into kids' everyday life?"

DESIGN THINKING- Have you heard about it before? Leading companies in the world, like Apple, Google, are banking on it for innovative solutions, people are writing books on it and everyone around you is probably talking about it.

So what does it have to do with your children? Well, traditionally our children are taught to learn for the test’ and are rewarded for the right answers. But the future is not about the right answers. We already have Google for that. The future is about creators, innovators and problem solvers who can adapt and pivot when necessary to flourish in a rapidly changing world. ‘Design thinking’ is that tool that can help us create those Innovators.

Okay, so let’s start from the basics.

What exactly is “Design Thinking”?

At a very basic level Design thinking is a “solution-based” technique to solve a problem. It’s a creative process that engages a person in opportunities to empathize and understand user needs, identify/re-define problems, brainstorm ideas and finally test these ideas using prototypes to learn and iterate towards the best solution.

Let me elaborate by giving a simple example:

If you would ask a child to design a car, she will probably go crazy and come up with the coolest cars that ever existed but what if you ask her to design a way to transport people from one place to another? Her solutions can be- unlimited.

You see, when your child starts thinking about solutions to the actual problem rather than redesigning an existing solution- it’s innovation at its best and hence very powerful. ‘Design Thinking’ was popularized by David Kelley, founder of the design firm IDEO and Stanford’s and he puts it in a simple statement:

“Design thinking relies on the natural — and coachable — human ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, and to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional.”

Is Design Thinking only for business and professionals?

It is true that conventionally this tool has been widely used by large businesses to innovate but it has started to show its impact in many other fields like healthcare, education and social enterprise.