I had a fascinating time at the Design Thinking Symposium in Singapore. Mark Wee, director of Studio, a collaboration of Mark’s design consultancy Union and the National Library Board, put on a workshop for a variety of Singaporean managers from education, defense and other ministries, as well as local designers. Mark told me about the work Studio was doing with the local police in improving the consumer experience. Through a range of ethnographic and other design thinking activities, his group put the police into the shoes of their “customers” and prototypes ideas of how to improve their engagement with people. It was impressive work and shifted the focus of police work from an enforcement, crime-solving model to incorporate the experience of people trying to engage the police to help them.
Kim Saxe, the director of The Nueava School talked about her founding a Design Thinking grade school in Palo Alto (where else), inspired by David Kelley, co-founder of IDEO and the D-School. It was mind-blowing to see the kind of creative work kids can do when given the chance and direction. It’s Design Thinking as pedagogy—helping students develop skills to solve complex problems creatively.
Now I’m off to dinner with the Singapore President who is presenting the President’s Design Award tonight to Chris Lee of Asylum. It’s the opening of the Singapore Design Festival, a paen to Singaporean design. Very cool.
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