Tag Archives: #d4cfis #designthinking

No Small Fixes: Design Thinking vs. Broken Tape Dispensers

19 Nov

20171114_1252331.jpgMy biggest challenge–and the greatest source of excitement–for this school year is a pilot elective I am leading: Design for Change Studio. For a few years now, a group of us at FIS have been asking how we can incorporate more design thinking and project-based learning into the wider curriculum. Of course, iterations of this work are already happening in Design/Technology, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts, and now Design Thinking initiatives are taking shape in all kinds of forms, all over our campus. Presently, my own efforts are fully focused on this one course.

To take the young designers through a quick design cycle, I asked them to solve a small, everyday frustration I have: broken tape dispensers. The new model of tape dispensers in the supply closet break too easily. When knocked to the floor, the flywheels snap and as there are no replacement spools at hand, the entire device ends up in the recycling bin. Also, I was wondering if there was a way to keep the dispensers from falling in the first place, without permanently adhering them to one spot.

This was not the most world-shifting problem I could think of, but I thought it would be a straightforward challenge for student design teams to tackle within a two-week time frame. The solutions they devised took much longer. But over a month and half, we learned so much that is informing the way we tackle future design challenges.20171016_144701

The students have done a really interesting job explaining what they learned from trying to fix broken tape dispensers. I include some of their posts here, and I hope you will be much more interested in reading their thoughts than my own. After the links, I share a few of my takeaways, too:

Student Blog Posts:







Broken Tape Dispenser Blog Post Assignment Description

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