The design thinking of the 21st century

Last year, I was given by OUM the opportunity to attend the EduTech convention at SunTech convention, Singapore from the 4th to 6th of November, 2019.

 As I was wandering the exhibiton hall, I came upon a section where there was a  prototype exhibition and I heard one of the booth puts on the Harry Potter’s soundtrack.

Naturally, I was intrigued because oh well I am after all have read all 7 books and yes, (pffts) have watched the movie (repetitively of course) and yes, I have a harry Potter’s wand (without the spells) bought for 24£ at the Hamley’s in London and also several Primark’s t-shirts and socks with Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry.

So yes, as a true geek fan for Harry Potter, the soundtrack ignited my interest as I was drawn to the exhibitors booth. I asked the presenter whom is one of the project coordinators at the booth, and she explained to me ever so confidently and eloquently. Her explanation to me sounded like this:

“ Oh yes, I will explain to you about the project that we are doing. This is a musical box that has Harry Potter musical soundtrack in it. The idea for the musical box is because you know usually we will dirty our room, and with the musical box it will help us to distract our parents and calm them down. So, while they are listening to the song, we will have some time and get to clean up our rooms immediately. So, our parents won’t be mad at us. If you look at the board we have the projection of how we design our project and this is the outcome that you are looking at”.

It was a box that looked like a shelf with Harry Potter books in it but it’s actually a musical box, where the music will get switched on when it senses movement.

I was wowed. Wowed by the fact that she was only maybe 10 or 11 years old. There were also other competing primary school students whom showcased their class project prototype. The project landscape and the prototype that was shown reminded me of a subtopic in OUMH1603- Learning Skills of the 21st century which discussed on design thinking. Design thinking is a 21st century way of thinking which involves creativity and innovation.

The module states that creativity is the bravery to try something new and innovation is the implementation of something new. A person filled with imagination, and new ideas are usually creative people and a person is considered innovative when they are resourceful and turn their imagination to become a reality.

The ability to connect the dots and making sense of things is a skill for every individual to possess. This ability typifies the process in design thinking. The basic process of design thinking as a strategy for design thinking includes 5 steps. The first being able to empathise i.e. to identify the problem, in which the primary student explained that they have a messy room that might anger their parents.

Secondly, to define and frame the identified problem that it could be applicable in a humanistic form and appropriate for human, in that they proposed to use the soundtrack of Harry Potter to sooth the emotion of the might be/ soon to be angered parent (s).

Thirdly, generating / storms of ideas to provide solution to the identified problem, in which I am sure there were squeaky little voices of arguments between the peers with the guidance of their teacher to come up with several ideas on how to create the musical box.

Fourthly- produce a / or several simple prototype to show the solution for the problem- in that they designed a musical box containing the soundtracks of Harry Potter, that will be switched on through sensory movement camouflage as Harry Potter book series.

Finally, the 5th process would be to test whether the created prototype (s) worked, in that they showcase the finalized prototype at the convention.

The project by the primary school students showed a well thought solution based on their awareness that their parents once hearing the songs would soothe their emotion and enable the kids to buy some time and clean up the room. They identified that music has a tremendous effect to the mind, and especially the soundtracks of Harry Potter are orchestral, the combination of violin, piano, bass and other instruments atypical to classical music was found to reduce stress and help meditate the angered emotion.

By the way, there was a ballot that the attendees of the convention could vote for their favorite school project. 

Well by now, you could have guessed which project I voted for….

Zulaika Zakariah

Amused by little human intelligence

14 February 2020

Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=4815770″>Gerd Altmann</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=4815770″>Pixabay</a&gt;

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