Introduction to facilitating Design Thinking

Run cor­rect­ly this cre­ative process will bring out desired behav­iours in the indi­vid­u­als tak­ing part. These behav­iours will ini­tial­ly be reac­tions against the process, aggres­sive­ly defend­ing the way they have been taught to think since child­hood. Sup­port and encour­age­ment from the facil­i­ta­tors, rather than cor­rec­tion will allow the par­tic­i­pants to see the ben­e­fit and strengths of the new process and will quick­ly engage at a high­er lev­el.

As each phase of the cre­ative process comes to an end and the next one begins, par­tic­i­pants will instant­ly revert to their pri­or learned behav­iour and will need to be pulled back into team cen­tred, diver­gent think­ing. Allow mini cycles of divergent—convergent think­ing in the ini­tial stages as the par­tic­i­pants get com­fort­able but steer them away from reliance over time.

Con­trary to com­mon edu­ca­tion­al prac­tice, stu­dents learn from what they expe­ri­ence and not from what they are told. Facilitators/Managers of the process need to stay focused on the big­ger pic­ture and not allow them­selves to get stuck in details that may seem impor­tant in the moment but run against the over­all expe­ri­ence of the par­tic­i­pant. Con­sis­ten­cy across the whole deliv­ery team is vital and gives the par­tic­i­pants clear indi­ca­tions of what they bound­aries are.

In instances where spe­cif­ic learn­ing out­comes need to be met, care will need to be tak­en in the cor­rect con­struc­tion of the brief so they are achieved nat­u­ral­ly. Telling par­tic­i­pants what the learn­ing out­comes are before or dur­ing the process will pre­vent them from embrac­ing the cre­ative process and devel­op­ing tru­ly inno­v­a­tive work.

Cre­ativ­i­ty and inno­va­tion is only suc­cess­ful if the envi­ron­ment sup­ports it. Cul­tur­al and per­son­al con­di­tion­ing needs to be acknowl­edged ear­ly. If the com­pa­ny, insti­tu­tion, course or ses­sion doesn’t adapt to the needs of the process­es of inno­va­tion and the cre­ative indi­vid­ual nei­ther will exist in any mean­ing­ful way.
Facilitators/managers sup­ply the envi­ron­ment and tools required, but need to trust those involved and the process to deliv­er unex­pect­ed results. Con­tri­bu­tions by those over­see­ing the ses­sions only guide the process and avoid con­tri­bu­tion or delib­er­ate steer­ing.

The phys­i­cal envi­ron­ment in which the cre­ative process takes place is very flex­i­ble and often takes many forms. What is vital is that the space pro­vid­ed is allowed be cov­ered from head to toe in the inspi­ra­tions, illus­tra­tions dia­grams etc. gath­ered dur­ing the each of the cre­ative process phas­es described below. Where clear walls are not avail­able, paint­ed 8x4 MDF boards should be made avail­able. A team of four par­tic­i­pants would be expect­ed to fill between 4 & 6 of these boards in the devel­op­ment of their brief.

Sup­plies should be freely avail­able and plen­ti­ful. Sharpies, Letraset TRIO or Pro mark­ers, Pos­tits of all shapes colours and sizes, plas­ticine, glue and coloured paper; includ­ing white.

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