Design Innovation


How might we make this better? Let’s start getting deeper in understanding
what the real problem is. You put an idea in front of a group of people
and they do much more than you could possibly have imagined. It is design as a human-centered endeavor
and a creative process. We couple design with innovation because we
are looking to create the new. Put all of your preconceived notions aside
and just observe. You better get your hands dirty and engage
with users really soon. Engaging with them in the context of their
lives. Yes, they don’t come here, we go to them. Gathering all the observations and making
it into something that’s tangible. Usually you start with problem definition
because often what you think is the problem isn’t really the problem. And that’s when we start brainstorming. How can I think about the problem from a new
direction? We always ask ‘is there another way to do
this?’ What is desirable and feasible and viable. And let me build that thing. Let me first see the little mock-up. Do it in cardboard; do it in wood. It doesn’t matter. Prototypes are necessarily imperfect. It’s intended to be more of a probe; more
of a ‘what do you think?’ Those intermediate failures of the iteration
are actually a good thing. This is a discipline which needs to be connected
in. The Segal Design Institute is indeed unique
in terms of its reach. From freshmen who have never been exposed
to empathy and problem-solving to Masters students to PhDs who are looking to create
new knowledge. That’s something we’re trying to give every
student the access to, not just a particular type of engineering student but every student. The bigger picture is that you can learn and
practice design anywhere. My students say it all the time, that they
came into it skeptical and they left feeling empowered and more confident, and they’re
seeing opportunities that they never thought were possible. That’s how we come up with the things that
no one’s thought of before. Everyone is allowed to be a designer. Everyone can be a designer. To create; to design; to build new value. That’s what’s exciting. That’s how Northwestern views design.

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