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Over the years a diverse range of industries have been learning design thinking methodologies as a way to create solutions for their problems. With the additional disruptions that COVID-19 has created, many industries are recognising the need for radical systemic change. 

Last year before the pandemic we began crafting a new digital learning experience, Design Thinking Online. We launched the course in May of this year for the Brazilian market. We are seeing amazing results, some expected and others surprising. With many businesses and industries launching online learning products, we felt inspired to share our lessons so far.

Lesson One: Radical Collaboration

We are seeing interest in design thinking from industries and areas in Brazil that we never anticipated. What is exciting about this is it is producing ‘radical collaboration’. 

Radical collaboration is what occurs when a diverse range of people provide their unique points of view about a problem or process. This creates an environment of increased creativity as learners are able to understand new ways of seeing and thinking about issues.

The world is crying out for new systems. New systems do not arise from the old, rather from entirely new perspectives. This involves radical collaboration between diverse industries, professions, cultural backgrounds and nationalities. 

Ricardo Ruffo, Global CEO and Founder shares, “We need to redesign systems that we’ve been using for the last 100 years. I believe there is an opportunity to focus on this crisis and see what is really meaningful. We can create new systems with radical collaboration by connecting design schools all around the world to foster a different mindset. We have infinite possibilities in our hands.”

Individuals have the power to create change on a systemic level. The actions of one person can ripple out into their workplace, industry and personal lives to influence systems. And we know that this is done first and foremost through education.

Lesson Two: Building Interaction

Over the years of facilitating online projects we know that engagement is key to successful learning outcomes. This is where tools like Slack or using platforms that allow comments in the modules boost engagement and create conversations.

At first the learners were not joining in the Slack channels to chat or have conversations. We began issuing challenges or questions to the community to spark interest. In particular it has been interesting to see participants share personal anecdotes and unique industry specific insights. 

Moving forward the Slack channels received high engagement from the learners. The stories shared were personal and full of details from their diverse lives.

Within the course modules itself we encouraged sharing information and insights via the comments sections in the platform. This sparked conversations among the community as they shared thoughts and discussed the content.

Lesson Three: Retention Rate

Online learning platforms often report low rates of course completion. To combat this, we suggest finding a rhythm. Content should be released in stages with the modules to be completed within a specified time frame. Having a rhythmic release and time frame stops students from looking at the whole course and feeling overwhelmed. Instead they take it one step at a time allowing students to deep dive into their course work and build learning autonomy.

Learner autonomy is self-led learning without the use of a facilitator to act as an authority on time management or thought process validation. Self-management is critical when creating an innovative workforce who is not afraid of complex wicked problems. Learner autonomy lays the groundwork for creative confidence and self-management. 

Reinaldo Campos, Partner and Head of Learning Experiences explains, “We want to empower new design thinkers to become leaders in their own learning process.”

The workforce needed in the coming months, weeks and years will need this sort of independence to confidently design new systems that are resilient and socially conscious.

The Time Is Now

There has never been a more important time to learn the vital skills of the future. A diverse range of perspectives will be needed to solve the complex sticky problems of this century. Ask us how to develop a digital product of your own or join a learning experience at the School Of Design Thinking. 

Click here to be notified of the release of the Design Thinking Online →

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Megan Davis

Originally from Michigan, now living and creating in Melbourne, Megan considers herself a citizen of the world. She has been discovering stories since 2012, specialising in narrative strategy and storytelling for businesses that are daring to create new realities and futures.
She has traveled the world conducting workshops in New York, London, Berlin, and most recently Lisbon at the House of Beautiful Business in 2019 to teach people how to connect with storytelling to deliver strategic business results.
Putting empathy first in business and life, she loves sharing her knowledge by speaking, training, and consulting on projects that are changing the world.

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