DT4SI: What has shaped me and what I take with me

Design Thinking for Social Innovation

The past months in the Design Thinking for Social Innovation course were very exciting and formative. I have worked with a lot of different people, worked with methods that I have never used before and dealt with topics that I had little contact with yet. Accordingly, I have taken a lot for myself from this course. In this paper Iwould like to share with you my top 4 learnings as well as my top 4 points where I would like to improve further.

1. Design Thinking as a new way of thinking

I had little contact with the approach of design thinking before. Since I study finance, I usually only work with numbers. In this sense, the course revealed a completely new way of thinking to me, which I will integrate into my projects in the future. I had previously thought of design thinking as more of a strict framework. Instead, I have learned that it is a very unique way of looking at things. It can be applied to many areas of life. This does not mean that I will neglect other ways of thinking, but I have gained a new perspective to myself.

2. Understanding people

I learned how to find out from people what they really want / need / makes them happier. Often people themselves do not even know this. By using the right questioning techniques, you can find out things from people that they were not aware of before. I noticed this in myself when Jonathan asked me about my wallet (Jonathan Pilz BTW: I bought the same wallet as you afterwards).

3. Failure is good

That Failure is good and belongs to it, I knew in principle also before, but it is easier said than done. I often cling to things that I have put a lot of work into. In the past few months, I’ve learned how to minimize the amount of effort I put into something before discarding it. I’ve also learned how much better an idea can be when it’s not the first idea on a topic, but the 100th idea, or rather a mixture of these 100 ideas.

4. Medium as a channel for learning

Another learning I take away from the course is the Medium channel itself. I had never heard of it before and at first I didn’t know what you could find on this platform. I now use it as my second Google in many projects: best practices, tips & tricks, recommendations. Whether I’m writing a speech, preparing a pitch or, like last week, had to create a product one pager for work: I now always enter the keyword in Medium and get inspiration for my own projects.

1. Become more creative

Creativity has not been one of my strengths so far and is probably still not my best asset. However, in the past months I have been given methods on how everyone can be creative. In particular, in the future I would like to take thoughts that are completely absurd or utopian in the first moment and pursue them further. In our projects in the course, there were many examples of how we used parts of an abstract idea for ourselves in the end.

2. Become a better interviewer

I also want to continue working on my interviewing techniques. Not only professionally, but also because it helps you in all areas of life if you can access and respond to people’s inner needs and feelings.

3. Become a better storyteller

In the financial industry, everything is very much driven by numbers and facts, so you have less room to interpret a story the way you want to. However, the course taught me that in the end, it’s always human that lsiten to you. And even though there are many very ratioanle people in the financial industry, you can also reach these people better with the right story that alludes to the right emotions.

4. Be more responsive to people

The last point that I have incorporated more in my thinking and would like to continue to expand on is to address people’s actual needs. After all, the title of the course already includes the word “Social”. I want to put my energy into projects that in some way make life easier for a certain group of people, make them happier or in some other way positively influence their lives. This idea is not exactly new, but it has been on my mind for a while. However, the course has reinforced this idea and shown me how much more fun it can be to work on such a project.

All in all, I got a lot out of the course and met a lot of warm, open-minded and innovative people, with whom I hope to keep in touch and maybe even implement a project together in future. Thank you Anne-Laure Fayard for the experience!

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