Embracing the Mess

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Today we had our coVenture today and things have gotten messy. We don’t entirely know what to do right about now.

Where should we be focusing our time? Do we want to build on the roof or just focus on space for students? (Yup we went backwards again and haven’t made up our mind on what we are actually doing and why we are doing it.) What do we need to know? How can we divide and conquer tasks? How can we work on our iVentures in relation to our coVenture instead of them being two isolated things? Who do we need to talk to? What do we need to do next?

It’s messy, I get that it is good that it is messy. Mr. Adams was even saying how he loved where we were at and thought we had an interesting hypothesis about students needing a space and pointed out that DT is messy and that’s just where we are. Ms. Cureton then added how they aren’t going to give us “the answer” because as a team we need to struggle through this and experience this phase of trying to figure out whats what and what to do with it.

I then realized that we are all discomforted by the mess, myself included. I’m trying to accept it, but the feeling of us leaving a meeting without some significant quantifiable progress and game plan for the future is really hard for me. I also realized that I haven’t been through this moment in DT before. Not really at least. As much design thinking as I’ve done, most of it has been flashlabs or big ideas that weren’t followed through in necessarily the best way. We have always done DT challenges that still involve someone saying, “…it is now time to move on to form HMW statements, and after 5 minutes we will interview, then we will prototype in 10 after that, and finally we will share our prototypes…” Even in DT, while at school, we have been guided through it and haven’t experienced the mess that we always hear talked about.

I don’t get how to describe this “mess” either, I just know that it is a term that people in the DT world can understand, but what about people not in the DT world (or don’t think they are at least)? How do I explain to my friends outside of ID this feeling of confusion but in a way I’m okay with? They may say they understand, but I don’t know how they could because school simply doesn’t prepare us for it and therefore I don’t believe they have ever truly experienced it.

I’m a huge supporter of learning through experience, so after today it really bothers me that students haven’t experienced this.  The “mess” is often described as the biggest part of what makes DT design thinking. I thought I understood it, but I hadn’t yet because you can’t explain this, and I’ve only ever been told about it. I thought by doing DT things that I had already seen the messy side, but I hadn’t yet because I hadn’t gone through this team struggle.

HMW create a school that allows students to experience this mess? HMW make teachers better on board with this more elongated process? HM schools break out of this idea of an organized design thinking process? If we really want to prepare students for the real world (in which DT totally gets used as I learned even more clearly from Thrive), they need to experience DT not be told about the experience.

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