The Vulnerability of Design Thinking: Helping Novices Feel Safe and Free to Get “Out of the Box”
Learning is risky because it requires stepping outside of what we know, and what we know how to do. Engaging in design thinking for the first time is even more so. Design thinking’s nonlinearity and ambiguity make the process counterintuitive for many novices. Working in teams can introduce complex interpersonal dynamics, and creative work is inherently vulnerable. Compounded, these factors can elicit a range of emotions in participants – from exhilaration and liberation, to deep discomfort and feeling a loss of control. Given the range of novices’ past experiences and personalities, if they feel uncomfortable with design thinking, is instructing them to “trust the process” enough?
As design thinking facilitators, how might we foster learning experiences that protect psychological safety and participant agency, inspire “productive play,” and honour the emergent nature of the creative process? In this session, participants will be invited to consider and share facilitation strategies that reduce the danger, but celebrate the adventure, of learning design thinking.
Tabea is an Associate Faculty member and Team Coach at Royal Roads University. She has been designing and facilitating design thinking experiences, most often in post-secondary education, for over six years. She has worked in post-secondary education for over 13 years as an administrator, course designer, instructor, facilitator, and team coach. Her industry experience includes a range of creative projects as an executive, writer, and communications and marketing consultant.
Tabea is currently pursuing her Doctor of Business Administration through Athabasca University. She is exploring how individuals and teams who are learning design thinking experience and make sense of the process in real time, with a view to enhance facilitation practices.