We wanted to create a process for design thinking specifically tailored to school students. A process that simplified the design thinking model, and focused on the elements that kids could learn the most from. We wanted to emphasise the ‘what if’ aspect of innovation, and the pragmatism of solution-focused thinking.
We wanted to encourage students to be comfortable outside their comfort zone, and to experience the ‘learning through failure’ that comes from prototyping. We wanted to scaffold ‘researching for empathy’, and to challenge kids to see beyond their first attempt through multiple iterations of a solution. Our belief is that design thinking can provide an approach that does all of this.
The heart of our design thinking model for kids is a three-stage process: LEARN, IMAGINE, MAKE. At the beginning of a project, only the general area to be explored is defined. By the end of the LEARN stage a clear problem is identified, phrased as ‘how can we…?’ By the end of the IMAGINE stage a solution has been identified, and the MAKE stage uses prototyping and testing to refine that solution.