Using Design Thinking to Turn Challenges into Opportunities

We’ve all heard the term “design thinking,” freely bandied about, but what does it really mean and can only creative people apply this in their work? “No,” says designer, educator, author Matthew Jervis, founder of Make It Creativity. He teaches design thinking to anyone who will have him—from teachers and students (sometimes as young as middle-schoolers) to bureaucratic administrators.

Every person has the capacity to be creative—not just designers and artists. Being creative is instinctual. It’s a set of basic survival skills that have evolved over time and continue to evolve…and not in a positive direction.

“The definition of creativity has veered off in present day to be more defined in emotional and expressive terms,” he says. “This modern definition is wrong and creates more problems, while marginalizing a vast swath of humankind. When we describe people who might like to draw, write, or who might think a little differently as ‘creative,’ we are missing what creativity really is and actually doing a huge disservice.”

Jervis points out that our ancestors needed to be creative to survive. “We ran buffalo off cliffs because we needed to eat and clothe ourselves, since we didn’t have horses yet. We needed to be creative. What’s the best way to run them off a cliff? Where is the nearest cliff? How do we keep from running ALL the buffalo off the cliff?”

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He approaches the creative process and design thinking with the idea that it’s a way of living and approaching everyday challenges… not just for designers working with clients. “The ability to see a challenge as an opportunity is key to thinking creatively,” he simply states.

“I feel that parenthood/childcare/teaching are some of THE best examples of design thinking as well as being some of the most creative endeavors out there.” he says. Here is a list of ten tactics devised by Jervis that parents—or anyone for that matter–can deploy in a challenging situation.

Whether it’s a kid having a temper tantrum, or running out of gas on your way to work. How we react to and deal with the circumstances is key to coming up with the best solution. Read rest here.

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