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Opening career pathways for talented urban youth

Building Skills for Creative Problem Solving at “Design Thinking” Workshop

April 07 2015

DESIGN THINKING is a problem-solving process that leads to innovative and effective solutions to challenges both large and small. An essential part of our curriculum for high school students, Design Thinking "builds confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future."*

Youth Designers learn Design Thinking on the job and also through our creative classroom education. Our recent DESIGN THINKING WORKSHOP was a fast-paced day in which Youth Designers and design professionals worked collaboratively in teams to creatively address several challenging problems facing people and communities. 

"It's important that students see the power they have as creative people to solve real-world problems," said Alisa Aronson, YD Education Specialist and MassArt Assistant Professor of Design, who developed the workshop with UX/Graphic Designer Fatimah Kabba. Improving the T daily commuting experience; defining and addressing a problem that effects teens; and designing a festival that unites diverse populations were the challenges Alisa and Fatimah developed for the collaborative teams to solve.

Defining the problem, brainstorming many potential solutions, choosing one idea to follow-through with, developing the solution in as much detail as time allows, and presenting the solution to the larger group for comments and feedback were the steps designers and students undertook. It was a dynamic day filled with great creative energy, lively discussion and debate, and lots of quick sketching and ideating.

"What impressed me the most was the students' open and positive attitude to solving problems," said Richard Delgado, a graphic and industrial designer who found working collaboratively with Youth Design students to be very inspiring. "I would totally be on a different level if I had known the design process before college or had any ideas of what to do," Richard adds.

Faith Donnelly, a Northeastern University senior majoring in graphic design and a design freelancer, echoed Richard's sentiment. "As a college student and a working designer, I was most impressed by the ease with which the students came up with quality and original ideas. It's amazing to see young people developing a propensity for design thinking—a concept I wasn't introduced to until later in college." Faith added, "What Youth Design students learn in this program are invaluable skills that will really help them stand out in the workforce as independent and creative thinkers."

Youth Design thanks the professionals who collaborated with our students at the workshop—designers Richard Delgado, Faith Donnelly, Fatimah Kabba, Elizabeth Randlett, and Orpha Rivera, as well as Margaret McGovern of Boathouse Communications—for their participation that contributed to a valuable learning experience and a stimulating day for Youth Designers! 

*http://www.designthinkingforeducators.com/

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