Our idea is empower students to be changemakers, creators, innovators, problem solvers and empathic beings through design thinking workshops and startup masterclasses as a means of preparing them to be entrepreneurs or problem solvers at the workplace after graduation.
Why marry the two (Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship)
Design Thinking has been existence for quite some time now. However, over the recent past, we are seeing a resurgence in its popularity as a way to build better programs, processes, products and experiences. Big corporations such as Apple, Google, GE and others have put HCD at the core of their operation and they continue to stay on top of the game.
Higher learning institutions such as Stanford, African Leadership Unversity, among others have successfully incorporated design thinking in their course work. OpenIDEO proposes design thinking approach for its global community to work together in solving global challenges. If design thinking can be brought down to be part of the everyday's learners life, its could well be the first step of re-imagining future education.
1. Relevance of Design Thinking to Learners
Design thinking is all about developing strong curiosities, and fostering the desire to understand and solve complex problems. It encourages empathy and optimism and embracing ambiguity. As such, in schools, design thinking has come in many forms, from project-based learning, challenge-based learning, to inquiry-based learning. They all have elements of encouraging good research, developing and testing approaches, and presenting findings.
With the future of workplace changing everyday, and with more than half the jobs disappearing by 2030, design thinking enables learners to ask better questions, see past perceived constraints, generate and filter ideas, have multiple attempts at prototyping, failing fast and discovers what works and what wows. Above all, they are able to collaborate more and are full of empathy.
2. Relevance of the Startup/Entrepreneurship masterclass
Once the students have a good feel of the design thinking process, they take part in the startup masterclass. The goal of the masterclass is to enable students translate the prototyped and tested ideas into viable business concepts. Workshops cover value proposition, business model, building a personal brand, team dynamics, startup branding and communication, and pitching.
Why this is important
Being able to solve a problem is one thing, and being able to understand how the solution fits in the ecosystem/organization is another. With an entrepreneurial mind, learners are able to come up with great solutions that not only address the problem in question, but also solutions that can be seen as “investor-ready”
At the end, we have graduates who are either ready to be entrepreneurs or who are ready for the job market with their problem-solving and soft skills.