Design Thinking Action Lab “Hangout” Joined by Two Special Guests
Each week, Instructor Leticia Britos Cavagnaro has invited select members of her 40,000+ Design Thinking Action Lab Course to chat around design thinking for live stream and on demand viewing. The weekly Hangout is meant to further drive interaction through the platform and to help bridge the virtual gap between participants, and even incorporates questions from live viewers. The latest meeting was composed of seven members of the class who were joined by Adriana Garcia, a Reuters’ journalist and Stanford Knight fellow, and Dr. Frederik Pferdt, the Global Manager for Creativity and Innovation at Google.
Adriana discussed the importance of and means by which she applies Designing Thinking in her field. Her followup forum post to viewers was beautifully written and extremely insightful:
“Journalists are natural connectors and translators of complex topics, so the Empathy part of Design Thinking goes very natural to us. We are born thinking of the needs of others, generally our readers, viewers or listeners. The difference is that, when we go to the field, we have a mental frame (which is a story idea/fact/event to cater to our audiences)….that mental frame can filter and block a lot of spontaneous things that happen in the field, and set the stage for how the interaction with sources is going to happen. Design Thinking has a more varied route of moments of flare and focus, so you are always open to serendipity (the “yes, and…” instead of “yes, but…” mentality).”
Frederik joined the conversation from Google’s “Garage,” the company’s “designer/hacker/maker” space which was specifically designed to promote Design Thinking, and the focus of his talk. “The Garage” was created with the interconnectedness of space and behavior at top of mind and was optimized to promote creative processes. For a year preceding construction, designers observed and talked with Googlers to empathize with how they worked and desired features. Folks in the space are encouraged to experiment even if it means failure, with rapid prototyping used to minimize the cost of such occurrences and reduce attachment bias. Indeed, floors are constructed of concrete to promote a feeling that spills and mistakes could easily be cleaned up. Collaboration is highly valued with wiring hung from the ceiling to minimize encumbrances of furniture movement, and easily customizable workspaces throughout which can be altered in less than ninety seconds.
Along with hand-washing, disinfecting, and social distancing, Zoom has become part of life for many during the pandemic. However, the initial thrill of seeing distant colleagues on video conferences has given way to fatigue, anxiety, and distraction as we struggle to stay engaged.