At VIVITA, we introduce design thinking to kids to provide them with a flexible framework and creative tools they can lean on when pursuing their own ideas. So far, we’ve done that by regularly organizing Design Sprint workshops, but we also aim to spread this knowledge during our day-to-day activities.
Part of the work we did to improve our most recent sprint (that generated some pretty exciting solutions to water pollution!), was to create a set of playing cards that turns the design thinking process into a step-by-step guide easy to follow when inspiration strikes — anytime, anywhere! The cards follow a working version of the design thinking process developed using a language and flow that isn’t overly complicated and visuals to support it. Together, we discover an issue we want to tackle by mapping our thoughts and experiences, but also relating how we feel about it. We then focus on a specific challenge, imagine many ideas, build prototypes through play and share solutions to get constructive feedback.
As with the other tools and props we are working on to further aid the Design Sprint workshops, we want these cards to bring more fun and playfulness to the process. With the first set of cards fresh from the printer, we can’t wait to start testing them together with the kids. We haven’t forgotten to practice what we preach though, so we are seeking some immediate feedback, too.
Our biggest challenge right now is to translate the non-linearity, unpredictability and fluidity of the creative thinking process into a flexible format that conveys the same message — playing cards being only one of the options. When is it time for relentless ideation, and when do you stop and make choices? When do you benefit from taking a step back or skipping forward in the process? We want children to feel confident that following the process leads them to a solution, so it’s important to guide them through multiple stages of divergent and convergent thinking. At the same time, the more playful this tool is, the more comfortable they would feel with the messiness that creative insights emerge from.
On another level, we still have work to do to make it a tool appealing to children. What metaphors could work better to illustrate each of the steps in the process? What colors and styles would bring them closer to children’s expectations of fun? While we want to make an analogue version that works, should we be thinking of a digital version to go with it as well?
Last but not least, the content each step of the design process is reduced to, the language we use and the way information is presented are all crucial to the degree of independence children will enjoy when using the tool. How do we avoid the overuse of text-based communication to suit various types of learners and include different modes of expression?
Let us hear your thoughts!