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Design Thinking Tackles Real World Problems

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Design Thinking Tackles Real World Problems

Julia Seelin

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Design thinking is a class like no other. It takes the students out of the everyday routine of school and allows them to tackle real world problems and come up with innovative solutions. I was able to experience this first hand when I took the class in the first semester, and I am very thankful I did. The class not only allowed me to solve a real life issue, but also taught me the design thinking process. This process allows me to fully understand a problem before coming up with a solution. One step that really resonated with me was the step of empathy. In the class we spent about a month just learning how to empathize with others, which is a very important skill to have. This class taught me what it really meant to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and use this to come up with a solution.

 

Empathy was extremely helpful when it came to our final project.

In this project, our class was given the opportunity to work with the state legislature on the topic of marijuana. Our mission was provided by State Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (RHS Alumni) to close the gap between the people making the law and the ones truly being impacted by it. Empathy was a major factor because in order to bridge the gap we had to understand all of the parties involved. We had to learn how the bill would impact people not only on an economic level but also socially. Through the design thinking process we were able to collect data and form insights that let us see the root of the issues concerning the legalization of marijuana. From there we came up with prototypes that addressed some of the needs we found. In the end, the last part was presenting all of our findings to the state legislature.

While we did not get to go to Trenton, State Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi and Senator Ronald Rice came to our school to listen to what we had found. This was a huge deal for our class because we were able to share our findings with people who really care about this bill and want their constituents to be positively affected by it. The presentation went without a hitch and the class has been invited to share our findings with more people in the state legislature. This was very exciting for the entire class that we were actually invited back. I was surprised by their response and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity this class has given me. This class is like no other at Ramsey High School and I am happy that I got to be a part of it. I have learned a lot and have grown immensely as a problem solver and I hope to carry these skills on with me to college and into the workplace.

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Design Thinking Tackles Real World Problems