How Design thinking transforms education and inspires innovation

Interview with André Fortin, a psychologist and an expert in Design Thinking.

André held a design thinking workshop on efficient use of technology at the service of social innovation during the week of technology and social innovation. He has a master’s in communications with emphasis on social change. From 2007 to 2013, he was a project manager as well as a consultant on creative facilitation and social innovation at the Institute of New World where he has managed over fifty projects involving citizens. He has fifteen years of experience in social intervention as well as researcher, freelance in areas such as training, facilitation, project management, social art and conception of diversified tools.

design thinking - andré fortin

Where does Design thinking stand in the world of education?

Design thinking is a methodology of problem solving with a global approach. It promotes access to information and facilitates everyone’s participation in order to create ideal solutions.

In education, Design thinking is used to improve the work of the professors and teachers. It’s a dynamic approach and leads to learning together in a cooperative manner.

With Design thinking, the learners are no longer passive either in transmission of knowledge nor in the search for a solution and answer to their questions. According to this approach, learners become actors and by using the tools provided by Design thinking to materialize their ideas, they collaborate with the professor as well as their partners in the process of reflection.

Moreover, consulting firms are becoming more and more interested in this approach. Ideo is an example of such a firm that provides a guide for the educators  so that they will be able to take advantage of this approach at work and establish equal relationships with their students.

How have students appreciated the Design thinking approach?

This approach has been received positively by students since it allows them to approach issues quickly, specially because we have offered two to three hours of training sessions. Design thinking also encourages reflection, consensus as well as confrontation. Its fun aspect that engages participants’ creativity is also highly appreciated.

Is Design thinking applicable everywhere even in an African education context which is different from the Quebec?

Yes, absolutely. Due to its collaborative approach, Design thinking is easily usable in an environment that is not too conceptual or formal. For instance, Design thinking tools such as prototyping (using objects to describe the elements instead of using words) allows illiterate individuals to participate in debates and collaborate in order to find the solution for the problems in a concrete manner.

Translation by Bahar Hoshyar

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Article on Design thinking during the week of Technology and social innovation in 2014