During the ICT Conference on Creativity and Innovation Conference, I attended a session on Design Thinking facilitated by the Habi Education Lab. Founded by Gerson Abesamis, Karol Mark Yee and Clifton Esteban, Habi Education Lab “works with schools and organizations to promote a culture of lifelong learning and innovation” through their various professional development programs. Design Thinking, being one of their flagship programs, is described as a problem-solving process by which empathy, user needs assessment and prototype building are employed when finding solutions to real-world problems. Habi Education Lab introduces a process of design thinking comprised of four phases creatively coined as HABI: Himayin ang problema (problem analysis), Ambagan ng ideya (brainstorming), Bumuo ng prototype (prototype building) and Ipakita, suriin at ayusin (showcasing, evaluation or redesign).

2015-02-03 Design Thinking with high school students

One of the highlights of the seminar is the creation of the “perfect wallet.” Participants were asked to work by pair in coming up with a wallet that responds to each partner’s needs. Using the design thinking process, the pairs will plan, sketch and finally create the wallet. During the seminar, many exercises were introduced by our facilitators but the “perfect wallet” exercise would have to be my favorite.

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From January to February 2015, I was able to share the perfect wallet exercise on three occasions and for three levels: College students of the Iligan Computer Institute during their ICT Week Celebration (23 January 2015), faculty members of the College of Education during the monthly faculty forum (28 January 2015) and high school students of the MSU–IIT Integrated Developmental School during their design class (3 February 2015) .

2015-01-28 CED faculty forum design thinking

2015-01-23 ICI design thinking

While most of the participants accomplished the prototypes during the session, the three levels varied in the time it takes to finish the prototype, the needs discussed in the planning phase and the peculiar features in the design. The table below summarizes my observation:

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When I sat as a participant during the perfect wallet exercise, my primary problem was that I always forget where I leave my keys and the wallet itself. So, my partner designed a wallet that will locate my keys all the time. Also, the wallet can be connected to a device that will help me locate it too. Interestingly, a wallet called MIJLO is on development at Kickstarter that will similarly respond to my needs.

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Design thinking through the perfect wallet activity enhances the designer skills in all of us. While some participants cringed at the sight of colored papers and scissors handed over to them during the creation of the prototype, most of them were engaged in the building process. As a facilitator and observer, I can say that not one of the participants were bored in the sketching and creating of the wallet. I realized that it is innate in human beings to create and find solutions to problems.

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