By Shanta Milan Dewan
(MBA Student, Participant – Concept Development for Impact 2018, Coach – Do Shop for Rotract District Nepal)
A typical day for a student of Kings College, rushing and running towards the class to get on time before the professor. But today was different. Unlike other days, today, I was rushing to get to a Design Thinking training program organized by King’s Do Lab for the participants of Rotract District Nepal. I was sitting on the other side of the table as a coach, for a change.
Gazing across the room at the seemingly unsuspecting millennials, I empathized with them for the grilling they would be subjected to today, just as I was two years back.
The session started off with an invigorating, opening monologue by our very own, Pratik Dai, the Lab master supported by our seemingly shy Raunak, talented in his own right. For those who don’t know Raunak, he is the guy who is soft-spoken, super helpful, wears specs and has a tied curly long hair.
The day started with a drawing exercise (to help participants realize differing perspectives and to help them communicate visually). Then came the wallet challenge – kicked off with the participants having to draw an ideal wallet and later converted into two-member groups where they would interview their team member and try to understand what their view of an ideal wallet was. They were then made to take another interview with the same teammate, only this time to try and get deeper and ask why until they could get to the bottom of the problem their partner faced with the regular wallet. This problem identification, as the Lab calls it, is the manifestation and the core principle of design thinking. They keep repeating, “Understand the problem before you try and search for solutions.”
The next few moments were filled with hubbub as the participants were rushing around to get glues, chart papers, basically, anything they could get their hand on that would help them build a prototype for the wallet. In the corner, with a sarcastic smile, the two lab masters awaited the ringing of the bell, very prudent not to give even a single second more than the 3 minutes allocated for the prototyping. The prototype was then subjected to review and further feedback with the same team member. With the feedback, changes were made to the wallet and the final product proudly presented by the participants.
Long breath. Pratik dai said, “This was just a demo”. Raunak surprisingly jumped up and started allocating the 18 participants into four groups of four and five. These new groups would be fixed until tomorrow when they would present the prototype and solution based on the demo practiced. The groups were presented with new problem statements including addiction management, stray animal management, sustainable living and self-dependence of elderly, and promoting healthy sexual behavior.
After an hour, they slowly entered the hall – one group at a time, with seemingly accomplished faces.
Later, the eager participants were forced out of the training room to go and interview possible stakeholders outside. After an hour, they slowly entered the hall – one group at a time, with seemingly accomplished faces. They were further facilitated and requested to converge their ideas and possibilities based on 3 factors which were desirability, viability, and feasibility. The session went on till 5 pm, and finally, the lab masters felt that it was time to call it a day.
Half confident and half confused the participants moved out of the hall pondering about the day. I know, because I went through the same process. I look forward to seeing them tomorrow and witness them reach a solution. I sympathized with them but I am confident they will pull through as I can see through the day, they have come closer and together as a team overcoming their differences. Oh, and by the way, they need to be inside the hall at 8:30 sharp tomorrow, the final day. Time waits for no man or woman.