The intent of this final assignment is for you to integrate all of the various aspects of design thinking in one analysis.
Choose a need or want that interests you from the list below or choose one of your own – a ‘function’ – and use design thinking to offer methods and insights into what might improve that function.
Keep in mind that design thinking is applied to both objects and processes. Objects and processes are created with the intention of fulfilling a human ‘function.’ So, for example, the object of a coffee cup has a ‘function’ of quenching thirst/providing nutrition, while the process of filling in of your income tax has a ‘function’ of transferring private property to the public (government) realm.
Here is a list of functions amenable to design thinking from which to choose.
- Homelessness in Canada’s major cities is increasing. Create a sustainable solution to reduce the number of individuals that identify as homeless and provide an effective shelter/housing solution.
- There are many people in developed and underdeveloped countries without electricity, particularly in rural Africa. Create a sustainable and accessible approach to provide electricity to millions of people worldwide.
- The lack of clean drinking water has been linked to many health problems in society. Create an approach to solve the problem of clean drinking water. Your analysis and solution can be global, regionally, or a country.
- Creating housing systems that allow for different groupings of people over time reflecting changing needs such as children-grown children, divorce, communal meals, cross-generational families, physical disability, and so on. You would be wise to choose only one or a few aspects to keep your assignment focused. (as an example a friend of mine wanted to create a modular home so that the bedrooms of his children would be moved another five meters from the main house on their birthdays!)
- Re-thinking government to crowd-source public policy, or to use wiki structures to create public policy. The issue of legitimacy, in terms of accountability and responsibility, is a particularly important aspect of this, as well as the actual process of creating the questions for the crowd-sourced or, as in the case of a wiki, moderating policy inputs.
- They are examining design thinking applications and solutions to creating home-grown hydroponic food systems. What are the barriers to people growing their food at home (or raising fish?), and what could design thinking do to create easy systems that could have widespread acceptance and use?
- Create a solution to loneliness. It has been said that one of the greatest mental health challenges in the 21st century is loneliness. Look at how design thinking might lead to methods and systems that could be used to remedy this society-wide problem. The selected approach to the chosen ‘function’ then becomes one of applying design thinking, seeking non-linear human-centric solutions to the problems of fulfilling the function.
The report can include many of the factors toolboxes of design thinking. A list of approaches might include the following:
- Observe/define the current situation and describe it.
- Suggest trends that might lead to this function is more important in the future, which can include environmental factors affecting the function. This section is akin to the trend analysis assignment. With this section, you can use the strategies for identifying trends discussed in class.
- Describe the stakeholders. This section is akin to the stakeholder assignment.
- Describe who the stakeholders are.
- Describe a scenario or horizon scanning where the function is being addressed.
：That means the Strategic Insight and Analysis will include the following sections: 1) Introduction 2) Framing (and reframing) of the design challenge, 3) Stakeholder analysis, 4) Trend analysis 5) Scenarios 6) Conclusion.
You are free to address the question and organize your response in any way you wish, but do try to create a systematic approach, which will require an introduction (stating the issue/thesis), a conclusion, and clearly-defined sections.
It can be illustrated with images, diagrams, or in any way that conveys the information effectively. While there is no minimum word requirement, keep in mind the assignment is worth 35% of your overall grade and should reflect a one-third effort of the entire course.