Towson Professor Reveals New “Design Thinking” Technique

Professor Pink talks with another professor while Peter Lucas grabs materials to build his solution (Photo by: Jarvis Royall/TU Student)

A different way of problem solving and idea development was presented to Towson University Wednesday.

Sidney Pink, who teaches Creativity and Idea Development at Towson, administered the speech.  He spoke to a crowd of about 10 people in Stephens Hall, Room 206.

Everyone was partnered up and was led through a series of activities centered around the goal that they were to “re-create their partners most recent gift giving experience” in order to generate new ideas for the way they deliver a gift or even new ideas for what gift they gave.

Peter Lucas, a non-degree Towson student shared his thoughts on the event.  “It was not what I expected,” Lucas said.  “I didn’t realize it would be a group endeavor.”

Lucas, as well as the rest of the audience remained receptive throughout the entire presentation as many questions were being asked in attempt to fully understand what was happening throughout each step of the process.

Professor Pink was very pleased with the small group size.  “Small groups are positive because more of the message is able to reach more people,” Pink said.

Pink also said that he wanted people to take caution of their surroundings at all times, including even the workplace. He wants people to be “more sensitive” and “empathetic” to others.

Professor Pink listed the steps to this process to be: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

Empathize was to connect with the other person in the group in order to get an understanding for their reasoning behind giving the gift as well as the reason behind why that particular gift.

Define was where each person made a statement that described what their partner needed in order to recreate the entire process for them.

Ideate urged the audience to brainstorm different ideas for their partners new experience whether it was a new way to deliver the gift, or a new gift all together.  After coming up with five or more different ideas they moved to the next step.

Prototype directed the audience to show their partner the ideas they recently came up with and take feedback on what the partner liked, what they were not fond of, where improvements could be made, and suggest new ideas for the final decision.

Test was the most active and interesting part of the day.  After choosing their final idea, the audience was asked to come to the front and build something that represented their final solution.

They were supplied with yarn, glue, cups, markers, crayons, balloons, and other arts and crafts materials to make the best possible physical replica of their idea.

The audience took the challenge head on as they were only given five minutes to complete this task.  The audience was in a frenzy trying to put their imagination into the physical world in a short amount of time.

Design Thinking was a place where people were able to let their creative ability loose and see their ideas come to life.



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