(Concept from Stanford Design School)
Saturday I went to a workshop hosted by Design Thinking Miami. I went to see how some one else teaches design thinking. In 3.5 hours we went through an exercise to develop a new wallet for our "partner" in the workshop. I had about half the time, 1.5 hours, to interview my partner on his needs, ideate and build a prototype. My partner was a young design student and most of the people had professional reasons to be there. Two notable exceptions: a litigator who thought design thinking would be useful to lawyers trying to better understand the other party to the litigation and a mother (HBS MBA) who thought design thinking should be taught in elementary school. After a 30 minute conversation I am not convinced that we need design thinking in elementary school. Critical thinking will suffice. All in all, I recommend Design Thinking Miami events to anyone who wants to learn about the subject, brush up their skills or meet some people you don't see every day.
I had one observation from the event. I prefer a slower pace to design thinking. Having five minutes to interview on needs or ideate solutions is not enough time, but it was done this way for the workshop. However, what I noticed is that all the novice design thinkers in a rush to complete the task in five minutes tended to refrain from criticizing or voicing prejudices. In a sense the fast pace made the novices more open minded and less critical, which is one of the key techniques in design thinking. One is more open minded when one is less judgmental.
The takeaway: When you have to solve a complex problem, set a very fast pace for the process so people do not have time to be judgmental, if you are working with novices to design thinking. For more experienced practitioners, I recommend a more normal pace.