Doreen Lorenzo, previously served as president of the companies Frog Design Inc. and Quirky and the marketing director for Power Computing, manufacturer of “Mac Clones” based in Round Rock, Texas, is the Assistant Dean of the new School of Design and Creative Technologies. Her attitude toward the rote-based system causes her to present her ideas on the importance of case-study-based education. Doreen Lorenzo mainly talks about the Radical Collaboration course, which was carried out in collaboration with IBM and UT, in her TED talk speech. 

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Although it seems that the aim and content of the Radical Collaboration course constitute the whole of her TED talk speech, it is possible to say that Doreen Lorenzo highlights four essential topics of design thinking. These are collaborative learning, design-driven entrepreneurship, human-centered design, and learning experience. First, let’s define these all mentioned keywords’ content from Doreen Lorenzo’s point of view, and then let’s explore IBM’s Design Thinking Course.

Tedtalk for Architects: Design Thinking by Doreen Lorenzo- TEDxUTAustin - Sheet1
Tedtalk for Architects: Design Thinking | Doreen Lorenzo_©TEDxUTAustin

Collaborative Learning

Doreen Lorenzo draws attention to the importance of collaborative learning in design in her TED talk speech on ”Design Thinking”. According to her, the solution to every design problem needs collaborative learning. Collaborative learning, on the other hand, briefly means that people participating in it benefit from each other’s resources and skills, unlike individual learning. Thus, everyone who contributes to collaborative learning presents their experiences to an environment where interdisciplinary solidarity is high. 

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Since the collaborative environment is a very common concept in business life, Doreen Lorenzo advocates that students should be familiar with and experience this multidisciplinary environment during their undergraduate education. That’s why collaborative learning must be included in the educational curriculum of universities. 

On the other hand, collaborative learning requires many skills. For example, thanks to the collaborative learning-based education model, Doreen Lorenzo has recognized the need for entrepreneurial skills to be taught to creative people.

Design-Driven Entrepreneurship

There are many definitions of entrepreneurship today. The common point in all of these definitions is that the entrepreneur sees unnoticed opportunities. Therefore, entrepreneurs convert these opportunities into a design idea. Entrepreneurs open the way for thinking innovatively and creatively because they consider design thinking as a way of problem-solving and thinking. Thus entrepreneurship provides a unique perspective of design.  

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At this point, Design-Driven Entrepreneurship combines the craft of Design and the grit of Entrepreneurship. Design-Driven Entrepreneurship uses design, technology, and entrepreneurship as tools for purposes of creating a human-centered design. Doreen Lorenzo draws attention to the importance of these in her TED talk speech, too. She even brings together pioneers in entrepreneurship such as Doreen Lorenzo IBM studios and Jan Ryan with her creative team.

Human-Centered Design

Human-centered design incorporates the human perspective into all processes of the design problem. Thus, human-centered design aims to make designs more useful by focusing on users, their needs, and requirements. According to Doreen Lorenzo, human-centered design approaches are based on interdisciplinary teams mostly. Thus, human-centered design aims to increase usability, accessibility, and efficiency by focusing on various disciplines. 

In addition, new perspectives and ideas improve the design experience during the human-centered design process. There are five things important for human-centered design. These are not to be limited to our own knowledge, to observe, to open to development, defining user needs, and not stopping testing the product.

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Learning Experience

Doreen Lorenzo mentions a learning experience in her TED talk speech. According to Doreen Lorenzo, the road from childhood to adulthood is filled with willingness to seek knowledge, learning, and curiosity. In this process, the most important two things are not to be afraid to make mistakes and to be keen on seeking knowledge continuously. 

This leads to an increase in student’s motivation to continue study or undertake further training. This process presents a holistic, and interdisciplinary approach, as well. Therefore, it is possible to say that people, who have various disciplines, help shape learning experience.

IBM’s Design Thinking Course_©THE DESIGN LAB

IBM’s Design Thinking Course

The urge to help students think critically about design problems, work collaboratively with different people, and gain experience that will form the basis of their future knowledge will cause collaboration between IBM and UT. As a result of this urge, a Radical Collaboration course, offered by IBM designers, is carried out. 

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The Radical Collaboration course helps students prepare better for the professional world in real work environments with real experiences. Students try to find solutions to IBM’s problems at the IBM Design Studios in North Austin. This process requires intense collaboration. Therefore this may look very hard, but IBM always helps students. Doreen Loren even states in her ted talk that this process is very exciting. At the end of the course, students have a project that they can add to their professional portfolio by making a presentation. 

Finally, The School of Design and Creative Technologies (SDCT) plans to host similar collaborations with other organizations and companies as it prepares undergraduate students to learn and execute design thinking, embody entrepreneurship, and collaborate both inside and outside the classroom.

Here is the link for the TEDxUTAustin (February 2018) Design Thinking | TEDxUTAustin video available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/doreen_lorenzo_design_thinking

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References

[UT School of Design and Creative Technologies and IBM’s Design Thinking Course]  Mccracken, H., 2021. IBM Develops A Design Class For Non-Designers. [online] Fast Company. Available at: <https://www.fastcompany.com/90147355/ibm-develops-a-design-class-for-non-designers> [Accessed 16 September 2021].

[UT School of Design and Creative Technologies and IBM’s Design Thinking Course] College of Fine Arts – University of Texas at Austin. 2021. IBM and UT Austin’s College of Fine Arts Join Forces to Create a Design Thinking Curriculum to Prepare Students for the Creative Jobs of the Future – School of Design and Creative Technologies – The University of Texas at Austin. [online] Available at: <https://designcreativetech.utexas.edu/news/ibm-ut-austins-college-fine-arts-join-forces-create-design-thinking-curriculum-prepare-students> [Accessed 16 September 2021].

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