Design Thinking — Placing Young People on the Path
Ever thought of a boring moment? Repeating the same process over and over can even become an epitome of boredom. Creativity and innovation are spices of life needed to be imbibed into young minds and we took a bold step towards this. In commemoration of the International Women’s Day 2020, a program on creativity and design thinking was organised by ImagoDA in partnership with Onelife Initiative for Human Development for girls at Ifelodun Community Grammar School, Muslim, Ibadan.
This event exposed girls’ ages 13 to 19 years to design thinking which involves the process of solving problems in a creative and innovative way. Design thinking at this age broadens young people’s thought process and gives them a boost to know there are always solutions better than the normal solutions already practiced. An example is solving the problem of students relating to the school authority, solutions like having sessions where students can anonymously send their complaints, questions and suggestions to the school teachers will encourage the students to be honest about their thoughts.
The skill of design thinking can provide solutions to age old problems that people face generally in the society. For instance women are usually faced with the challenge of not participating in selected workforce or even opting for employment because they are saddled with the responsibility of nurturing infants and children. A solution to this challenge has been provided in a few organisations where child care facilities are available for their employees. Another challenge is the redistribution of domestic work: with a possible solution of working with major advertising companies and agencies, and offering them gender-responsive training. By encouraging images used in advertising to take a more gender-neutral approach, they could potentially influence the narrative of gender roles in the home and help redistribute domestic work more fairly between females and males.
Women are driven with social skills like active listening which improves paying attention to people; emotional understanding and communication which reveals empathy and helps identify problems that affects others better. Business wise, women make a difference to the productivity, creativity and profitability of businesses. The pattern of things that have been taught does not necessarily mean we have to follow the same path. Design thinking means an evolution has taken place with the solutions usually provided to a particular problem. The advantage of women who are already applying design thinking in their careers has enabled us to see more women stepping into roles of power and authority. Having more women who are equipped with the design thinking skill increases the number of women who can help others realize their rights and others who will provide solutions to societal problems. Moreover, it gives women a seat at the idea making tables which are the powerhouses of the organisations and improves their mental health by improving their self-esteem.
The most exciting aspect of the program for the girls was when they were divided into groups to create a societal problem and utilise the components of design thinking which they had just learnt to solve the problems. The interesting part for them was having to choose a representative speak in front of the whole class to discuss the results from each group. Two groups came up with problems of poverty and provided the solution of free education for everyone while another group found the problem of road accidents and proffered the solution as designing indicators such as speed limit, traffic light and c- caution to solve the problem of reckless driving. This exposure will enable the adolescent girls to dig deeper in providing solutions to problems that they are faced with or around them. The skill can be applied in everyday lives and in the society at large.