Design thinking event to promote innovation

GVL / Courtesy - Lisa Kreinbring
Design Thinking Initiative

GVL / Courtesy – Lisa Kreinbring Design Thinking Initiative

Jess Hodge

Thomas Edison once said, “There’s a better way. Find it.”

Edison is known for his constant rethinking and reworking of ideas, an early form of what is now known as design thinking. Design thinking is a process of problem solving and discovering. It brings together a group of dissimilar thinkers to go through a multitude of trial-and-error tests in order to reach a unified result, requiring the team to gain an empathetic understanding of the issue and to put it into a larger context.

Grand Valley State University showcases this innovation through the Design Thinking Initiative, a series of discussions from industry leaders about thought-provoking topics.

Deborah Parizek, executive director of the Henry Ford Learning Institute, hopes to share her ideas with students during her Design Thinking Initiative presentation on Feb. 10.

Her presentation, “Developing an orientation of innovation through design thinking” is aimed to help students adapt to the changing world around them and to give them a different mindset on problem solving.

Parizek was invited to present by John Berry, the director of the Design Thinking Initiative at GVSU. The presentation will focus on what developing an orientation for innovation means, success stories of students and then a discussion will follow about conceptual framework on how to bring opportunities to schools, their staff, students and parents.

Parizek believes the skills students can learn from design thinking can be applied at school and at future jobs.

“Our students need to have the ability to take information and apply it to new context in order to address the challenges that they see around them,” she said. “It’s a tool for self advocacy (and) it incorporates a wide range of professional workplace skills like communication, problem solving, collaboration, leadership and research and development.”

Berry asked Parizek to present because she is well experienced in bringing design thinking into education curriculums.

“It’s a messy process (which) means going down a path of trial and error methodology,” Berry said. “Design thinking process is at its best when people are comfortable hearing from others and not trying to sell an idea, but really being open to the ideas of others and collectively finding a way to resolve the issue.”

He also said that this presentation is open to not only GVSU students, faculty and staff, but to people in the community as well. He expects there will be a good mix of people there for conversation.

“We’re learning this too, we’re happy to share what we think is working for us,” Parizek said. “If you can share something that helps us serve the chance to improve our world and our schools, that’s awesome.”

Berry hopes students find the presentation beneficial and can take away concepts that will help them in their future.

“I want to continue to advance the awareness and interest in bringing design thinking as experience for students and faculty and the community through Grand Valley,” he said. “Having (Parizek) share her experiences would be helpful to others in seeing the value and realizing this isn’t necessarily a new thing this is something that is an exposure to a process that can be helpful for all.

“The whole idea of the approach to design thinking relative to a culture of innovation was something she and I talked about. Having a culture of innovation to design thinking at Grand Valley would be a marvelous thing to see happen.”

Parizek also hopes people will learn something that they can use in their jobs, their communities and in their life.

“(Design thinking) allows us to develop an orientation of innovation and we see that approach to creative thinking and innovative problem solving as an essential skill for learning for work and for life,” she said. “It establishes a mindset that is transferrable across any path you choose to take.”

Parizek’s presentation will be held in the Loosemore Auditorium on GVSU’s Pew Campus on Feb. 10 from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.