In a way, I have always been envious of engineers and their ability to sketch, collaborate, and brainstorm a solution to problem x, y, or z. In my own classroom, I feel like I’ve spent the entire year implementing different class structures, teaching pedagogies, seating arrangements, and even personalities in order to do a better job at my….job.
We are a few days away from the end of 3rd quarter, and I’m still unhappy with the solutions I’ve developed to the same problems that have existed since I first got to know this group of kids.
On what feels the other side of the world, in my equity class on campus at USG, we are working on designing a solution for an equity-central problem in our classrooms. Before delving into this actual assignment, I was under the impression this assignment would go problem–>solution. Considering I’m in a STEM program, I should have known better, as we delved into design thinking.
One of the biggest steps, the one we just finished up with, is ideation. This is basically the brainstorming step. There’s a lot of ways to brainstorm, but I’ve found that taking the time to be more organized about it or creative in the way you brainstorm is incredibly helpful.
While I’m not quite finished with my end product to solve my classroom equity problem, I’ve been using ideation daily just to problem solve through small things at work or at home. Being able to draw a mind-map or do some reverse brainstorming has helped me decide how to structure a weekend that I want to fill with just about every activity. It has helped me figure out how to rearrange my classroom so that, finally, my students aren’t constantly talking. Instead of willy-nilly trying something out because “why not,” taking some extra time to map out all my ideas and choose the best one has proved to be worth it.
Your life is your own, and you are the one designing it. Why not apply some design strategies to your daily or weekly musings? While it’s not realistic for me to tell you to use this for all life’s solutions, for the big ones or for ones that you could spend more time thinking about, why not?
Here is a website filled with ideation strategies. While some of these are not really applicable outside of product design, much work well with any problem that needs a well-thought-out solution.