Design and Innovation Workshop: Rethinking Global Problems and Solutions

Sara Minkara, the president and founder of Empowerment Through Integration, led a workshop in approaching real world problems from a new angle. By using Design Thinking Innovation tools including group work, analogous worlds and creative exercises, we explored out-of-the-box approaches to problem-solving.

We worked to solve a relatable problem – too much congestion in a city- in unconventional ways using mediums like waterslides, rideshares, or FedEx. With discussion, we chose the best method and then used visuals to draw it out.

The workshop included 6 steps:

1) Split into smaller groups. Each person write down the problem in their own words.

2) On the same page, brainstorm unconventional analogous worlds that could address the problem (In our case, these were of methods of transportation – any way something could get from one point to another.)

3) Rotate papers among those in our group. Choose one analogous world listed and create a solution to the  problem using that system.

4) Rotate papers. Write down why the solutions listed could fail.

5) Rotate papers. Redesign the solution based on the potential problems listed from Step 4.

6). Groups discuss each final solution and choose the most plausible. Each group then draws out the solution to illustrate visually and presents their solution the room.