Design Thinking

Thank you for joining us for our Circle on Design Thinking. In this Circle we highlighted the Collaborative Design Center (CDC), which is a space that is designed to facilitate creative problem-solving, or in the language of CDC, “design thinking”.

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At certain times in the semester, you can face a problem that you have to leave your comfort zone to solve. Maybe you need to step out of your usual course of action to seek a creative solution. Enter divergent and convergent thinking!

Divergent thinking is a process that first invites all sorts of ideas in the beginning, where one is asked to contribute as many thoughts as possible, no matter how wild or unusual they may be. In this stage, one must suspend judgement and be willing to combine with other ideas. Quantity is most valued in this stage.

Once a large pool of ideas are available, convergent thinking asks you to sift through the pile. Judge each idea affirmatively, but remember to check your objectives: what is the problem you are trying to solve? Don’t be afraid to converge on an idea that is not yet perfect – improvements can be made. And don’t forget to consider novelty! Quality is the driving force behind the paring down process of convergent thinking.

Divergent and convergent thinking may best be thought of through this example. Let’s say the problem you face is that the students are not completing their reading in preparation for class. Divergent thinking can provide a full range of ideas, from testing students on reading content at the start of every class to paying students per page read! Neither idea may be possible to implement, but the process of divergent thinking allows us to create a whole pile of thoughts from which one may lead to a real solution.

Maybe (definitely) we don’t have the time or the money to put into action either idea above. But what other possibilities emerge from considering them? Perhaps as a way to incentivize using the textbook, reading quizzes could be made possible through a Blackboard space where students could earn some extra credit. What creative ideas do you have to contribute?

Interested to learn more? Check out Kathleen Gardner’s “The Dynamic Balance: Divergence and Convergence.”

As a tech strategy, we learned about using hashtags to label our thoughts and ideas, and create a sense of community around a topic. We also learned about Tagboard, a free tool that allows you to enter a hashtag and view all the Tweets, Instagram pictures, Google plus posts… in essence to aggregate the social perspective around a particular hashtag and display it in bulletin board like fashion (click the image below for how to set up a Tagboard). As a practical example of this, we shared President Obama’s recent visit to Valencia, https://tagboard.com/obamaatvalencia/. Below is a guide to creating your own Tagboard. Check out these quick guides for posting to a tagboard through Instragram and Twitter.

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