Empathy (noun) the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

This one word bears so much weight for humanity. It is what connects us at a mental, spiritual and an emotional sense. It’s what allows a mother to feel the joy/pain of her child. It is what allows a friend to feel another friend’s joy/happiness or grief. Commercially speaking, it is what allows a business to understand the real needs of their customer. It is what allows an educator whether in primary, secondary, tertiary, coaching or within the industry to understand the real needs and become effective in the knowledge transfer and enablement of growth and development of the student.

Are you afraid of public speaking? Well, let me ask you a question… were you born with a fear of public speaking? Seriously, as a baby, were you aware of your fear of public speaking?

Fear of public speaking (also known as “glossophobia”) is higher on the list of global ‘fears’ that the fear of death!

Ever given a presentation and felt like your throat was closing and your mouth was dry? Or made an important request of your boss but thought your voice sounded as shaky as jello! These are all normal physiological reactions when you suffer from the fear of public speaking. But I have some good news… the fear itself, is something that you have ‘learned’ during your life. (So?) …

“Virtual reality is the ‘ultimate empathy machine.’ These experiences are more than documentaries. They’re opportunities to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. It’s exactly what Designer’s need!” Chris Milk

In an essence, this is it!

Let’s look around… the students in your classroom are currently learning about ‘Space’ and they are reading a textbook section about each planetary system or designing a pencil box to be built in the woodwork shop! Or they are looking at the human anatomy on the prescribed biology text that has pictorials on a flat page.

Instead… just imagine for a second… your students are soaring around the rings of Saturn and inside the NASA International Space Station — looking and interacting on 360 full immersive VR! Or maybe (just maybe!) your students are…

Let me share a small story about one of my past students in the second year of Architecture at QUT. He was one of the most talented, naturally skilled designers for his age. His OP score was very high and he had maintained a very high GPA during his first year of tertiary education in Architecture. However, at the start of Semester I in his second year, he had moved out from his parents place by himself, lost his job (living on Centerlink payments) and ended a relationship with his partner at the time. His attention and attendance in class…

Working with a lot of schools and universities across Australia, it is becoming more and evident that there are some common misconceptions about ‘Design Thinking’ as a model/approach/mindset etc. So, my hope with this article is to clarify these key elements at the start. Whether you are a teacher/educator or a professional, I hope it helps you understand ‘Design Thinking’ through a clearer lens.

  • ONE // Design Thinking is not (just) for Designers

The most common misconception is that ‘Design Thinking’ is only for Designers and Design disciplines such as Architecture, Industrial Design, Landscape, IVD, UI/UX, Fashion Design etc. Simply…

Rashan Senanayake

!nspired . Author . Speaker . Educator . Designer www.rashansenanayake.com

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