The Hitchhikers Guide to Design Thinking for Mice


For one of the first times in a long time, I really enjoyed my summer reading book. For a while I’ve wanted to read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy because it’s my best friend Marz’s favorite book, so it was great that it was my summer reading book this year! While I read the book I stopped and wrote on my phone any time I thought of a question or even just some general thought about the book. Now I would like to share my thoughts on this great book so if you do not want to read spoilers I’d advise you to stop reading here; however, if you would like to read my questions and comments on science, humans, and design thinking, please continue. (Just keep in mind that some of the comments and questions are more thought out than others.)

What would be important enough for you to always carry around the Galaxy? Ei. Like the towel

How would you describe Adam Douglas’ opinion on humans and human nature?

What was your take on improbability physics? (Pg 69)

“Because…because… I think it might be because if I knew I wouldn’t be able to look for them. “(97) This quote was just really interesting because it’s just makes such sense–if you know where something is, then you don’t need to look for it.

When talking about the room that goes on forever, what he is actually describing is an elliptic curve where infinity isn’t really infinity because it is a point and the multiplicative inverse because it connects “curves and meets itself” like the walls of hyperspace. (107)

Thinking about the roles of the Philosophers, are some things truly better left a mystery to always be discussed and debated? Would you choose to be told the answer or to continue to contemplate until you may or may not find the answer yourself? (115)

How would philosophers strike? What would be the effect of that? Do some strikes simply not work? What makes a strike effective? (115)

The book acknowledges the importance of asking the right questions with its story of the Great Question and the Answer being 42. In design thinking we have the same discussion during the empathy stage where we have to be careful to ask a HMW question that really gets at the heart of the problem we want to solve for our user. If the problem and question does not reflect the user, you will not get an answer/solution that you desire (ei. It is actually helpful). (121)

When the computer isn’t able to tell them the actual question, then it begs the conclusion that it is harder to create and understand a good question then it is to find a solution. I think I agree with this conclusions because for example you could create a bunch of ideas/solutions easily through brain storming, but these ideas may not be actually helpful and it’s a lot harder to come up with an idea then justify its purpose then it is to find a problem and brainstorm solutions. Thus The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy reinforces the principles of design thinking. (122)

Marvin, the depressed computer, is found again after the group of 4 gets back to The Heart of Gold once again, and he says that he talked to the computer of the police ship so much that the computer committed suicide. The computer committing suicide is exactly what made the police men die which saved the group of 4; therefore, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy suggests that sometimes it is ok to feel depressed and sad and even a little grumpy (basically the emotions typically considered  “bad”) because these emotions are sometimes exactly what is needed to then make situations better. This is a similar point made in Disney’s movie Inside Out which is kind of interesting since that movie just came out while as this book as been around since 1979 (of I’m reading the books info correctly). (142)

The book ends quite peculiarly because while the main characters are safeish from there last conflict, which took place at a rapid pace compared to most conflict resolution periods, the characters don’t really have a huge revelation. The closest thing being that Arthur accepts that he will no longer be living on Earth and must now learn to survive as a hitchhiker in the Galaxy. The book instead has an ending where it is setting you up for a completely new adventure, which is the second book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It’s an interesting ending because there isn’t really any clue as to what their new adventure will be like because the adventures from the first book do come to a respectable close (so you are lead to believe at least); however, the ending doesn’t feel like an ending so I’m debatably intrigued by the offer of a second book simply because I know nothing as to what will come thus intriguing  my curiosity a tad.

It’s most defiantly an odd ending to an odd book, but it was an odd book with lots of interesting ideas on humanity, science, the unknown, and even principles of problem solving and design thinking.

It’s actually made me think, maybe design thinking doesn’t have to just be “human centered problem solving”, but what if design thinking could also be mice centered problem solving? You don’t have to be able to talk to someone to empathize do you? I mean that would even eliminate some humans if we used speaking as a limit, so why do we limit design thinking to being just “human centered”? I think a more accurate description of design thinking would just be “empathy centered problem solving”. I’d like to think we could discover, empathize, experiment, and produce with mice and other creatures just as easily as humans, so doesn’t that mean we can design think with them as users too?

Anyway over all I would defiantly recommend this book to just about anyone. However, you must be willing to suspend judgement on the weird and ponder the impossible as possible in order to fully appreciate the quizzical nature to this splendid read.


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