1st design thinking challenge at st. peter’s school

By Gaëlle Collas and Noelle Roces

To kick start the month of February, St. Peter’s launched the first-ever Design Thinking Challenge 2021 in Middle Years. It was a two-day Design Sprint Bootcamp where Y8 students were given a problem to solve. Their goal: come up with an innovative solution using the Design Thinking methodology, an iterative process in which the participants seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions. Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a creative way of thinking and working that helps us think outside the box.
During the challenge, students learned the fundamentals of human-centered design; starting from empathizing with user needs, defining the problem, ideating solutions, building prototypes, and finally testing and iteration.

The first step was for each design team to choose between 4 types of personas (client profiles that currently exist today in the financial and banking industries):

  • The skeptics, who don’t trust banks or the financial system anymore, and ask for more transparency.
  • The pioneers, the young generation, always connected, who want efficiency and easiness.
  • The traditionalists, who prefer to have real persons helping them with their bank account and need clarity as they are not so keen on the use of technology.
  • The pragmatists, who know what they want and don’t want services not useful for them.

In teams of 3 to 4 students, they empathized with their chosen persona in order to understand their needs and pain points leading to insights. Using these insights, the team defined the problem and shifted into a convergence phase by analyzing the challenges and problems of their users specific to their banking needs and financial goals.

After defining the problem, the teams diverged into ideation through brainstorm; proposing different solutions, and sketching ideas. At the end of the first day, each team converged again by selecting a final idea leading to their design solution for their users.

Day two was when doing beats the talking. The teams started to prototype their solutions while keeping the needs of their persona in the forefront. Prototypes evolved from low-resolution wireframe analog sketches, process maps, and storyboards to digital interfaces and applications.

When each team had it ready, they tested it by interviewing and observing how the users interacted with their prototypes. The groups took notes and captured feedback along the way; all to be used for design iterations and continuous improvement.

To capture the entire journey, each team created a short video presentation summarizing the design thinking process from insights to innovation. The groups shared their experience and feedback with each other including the facilitators.

One of the videos created by the students

As a school community, we saw the creativity, and collaboration the students have put in throughout the challenge. We were impressed and loved their creation as well as the quality of their videos. Some even included blockchain technology, other the Sustainable Development Goals, showing how much they had mastered what they studied lately. We can only be glad and proud we could help them give life to their ideas during those days. It was a pleasure for us and them to learn and build together.