Girl Scout Leadership Institute workshop

Introducing user-research techniques to teenagers.

Girl Scouts from across the US took over the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, for their 2011 world congress. One session of the Leadership Institute, led by the Design Lab, introduced design research techniques and design-thinking in an interactive session called, ‘Mission Resources: User-centered design for problem-solving and innovation’.

Food for thought: Design in education.

After the sessions, several girls inquired about how they could ‘get this job’ — curious about what to study in highschool and college, in order to be able to do the kind of user-centered research work that was described and practiced during the session. Truth be told, these participants succeeded when guided to generate clear, important initial insights in a very short time, after applying the user-centered design process to a familiar real-world situation and conducting mock interviews and a very brief analysis of the data.

This begs the question, why wait to learn design thinking? How can it be incorporated into mainstream education?

An excellent project exemplifying the benefits of teaching design-thinking from an early age is described in this TED Talk by Emily Pilloton, whose studio has brought design-thinking to a rural North Carolina school system.