As promised in my last post, about the #Prizmah17 Playground as a whole, this post will focus on the playground area known as the Think Studio. The Think Studio was created in order to provide a space for design thinking, an iterative process that brings people together to bounce ideas in response to a large, open-ended question or challenge.

What IS Design Thinking?

Depending on who you ask, you will get a slightly different outline of the design thinking process. According to IDEO, a leading voice in the world of design, and maker of the free Design Toolkit for Educators, design thinking involves these steps:

According to our playground partners, Wonder By Design, and the toolkit they put together for the Think Studio, the steps are:

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and move completely past the steps. The individual “steps” matter much less than the embracing of an open-ended, diverse process that contains time for planning, discussion, trial, error and going back to the drawing board. It’s important to remember that learning is messy.  The big kinds of questions that merit design thinking will take us further down the path, but that path has no final destination, no one “perfect” solution. As Rabbi Irwin Kula says in the opening line of his book Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life,

“When you’ve got an answer, it’s time to find better questions.”

The #Prizmah17 Playground Think Studio

The Think Studio was created to give participants a space in which to gather in order to engage in facilitated design thinking sessions structured around a guiding question.

Cheryl Maayan and Patty Bloom, from Saul Mirowitz Community School posed the question of how to create a positive school culture through perspective-taking. Facilitator, Patty Bloom, and a participant reflect in this short video:

Traci Stratford, Prizmah’s Advocate for Reform Day Schools, facilitated a conversation in response to what Reform day school advocacy should look like. Take a look at the final wrap-up conversation from the session in this video:

The Smartest Person in the Room…

I wasn’t able to be present for most of the conversations that took place in the Think Studio space, but the “buzz” I heard from participants was full of energy and excitement. There is a trend at education conferences toward more interactive sessions that tap the ideas, experience and expertise of those in the room. This is the power of a think studio and a facilitated design-think experience.

In the first video above, Patty Bloom reflects that because their session was in the Think Studio as opposed to a different space, they challenged themselves to tell the story of their school through an interactive exercise that asked participants to simultaneously create their own stories. This was, by all accounts, a huge success.