Point of View

What eight little girls re-taught me about design thinking

My six-year-old daughter wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. Given the way she can rock a Sophia the First t-shirt and disco ball silver leggings, she may have an actual shot.

When the parent-teacher group at our grammar school asked for volunteers to lead after-school clubs, my daughter begged me to lead one on fashion design and sewing. “You work at DESIGN Concepts, right Mom? You should know how to do that.” Touché.

So design we did. A group six first grade and two second grade girls and I spent four weeks designing, assembling and sewing their skirts. And while I thought I would be imparting to them all of my design wisdom (Color wheel! Proportion!), it turns out that they re-taught me the basics of Design Thinking. Here is what I re-learned.

Lesson one: “Why can’t I make my skirt entirely out of faux fur?"

Design thinking involves asking why and why not. And the answer to “why can’t I?” is always, “oh, you can!

Lesson two: “I think that is good enough."

But it’s not straight! The elastic is twisted! This is what the grown-up in me wanted to say. But the skirt fit around her waist and twirled just fine, which were the only two requirements that mattered. So, yes, good enough can be…good enough.

Design thinking involves asking why and why not. And the answer to 'why can’t I?' is always, 'oh, you can!'

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