Design Innovation 15

I know that this semester is going to race by and my time with this course is going to go by super quickly. This is my first formal introduction into human centered design and design thinking. Why am I interested in it? I understand just how important it is to be able to mold creative solutions to problems. I want to be able to apply design thinking to shape what things I pursue in life and to better understand my relationships and how I can make change in the world. (I am not aiming for “change the world” but “make change in the world”. This distinction is important because “make change in the world” is a stepping stone goal. The change you make doesn’t have to change the world in its entirety but just something that I can say would not have been the way it is if it wasn’t in part due to my efforts). This being said I want to make the most out of this experience and therefore plan how I am going to make the most of the experience.

First, what am I making the most of? This course will go through 4 design cycles of increasing duration and complexity. There are the following modules: a quick introduction, customer focused design, and engineering oriented design. Customer focused design is further broken up into two parts understanding customers and generating and testing concepts. Engineering oriented design is a larger design cycle segment that will cover assessing the problem, reverse engineering and patent exploration, and visualizing solutions. All of this will include group work, field work and reflection!

Now the way I see it design thinking is a mental framework — a mental framework that helps you challenge assumptions, reframe situations and find out the underlying themes that really need to be fixed. Such a mental framework will require time to really develop and cultivate. This blog is meant to both serve as a reminder of the techniques that I will learn in this class so that I can spend more time thinking through these ideas. The concepts themselves may seem obvious however I need to make a conscious effort to build them into how I think. Therefore the goal is to summarize the lectures that we have including the activities and two or three main situations and what I learned from it.

Now, briefly, the long term vision regarding why I care about this class. As I’ve written about before, I want to revolutionize/ transform healthcare. I want to do this on a large scale. One idea I recently heard from the CEO of GV, Bill Maris, is the idea of “distribution”. He stated that one of his goals for GV is to extend the human lifespan. When questioned about how long this goal is, he pivoted his explanation to saying that we have the technology we need to improve the life expectancy in less well off parts of the world. Therefore his goal is to get better distribution of technology. This idea works into my goals for transforming healthcare. I think my primary technical skill will be in machine learning and artificial intelligence. However in order to improve the health of as many people as possible it will require much more than good algorithms. This is why I want design thinking. We will have to work with public health and sociologists and the public sector in order to take action on data that can make better diagnoses, predict epidemics, distribute resources, etc.

I’m excited to get the opportunity to learn from such an accomplished and talented professor!