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Students apply design principles for social solutions

Original post made on Aug 13, 2013

Can "design thinking" help to solve poverty and racism? Middle school students in East Palo Alto brainstormed for solutions to those concerns in a summer program that stressed new ways of problem solving.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, August 11, 2013, 5:16 PM

Comments (6)

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2013 at 10:18 am

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Susie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 14, 2013 at 10:37 am

The Foundation for a College Education is a powerfully effective program. EPA City Council member Laura Martinez is one of the graduates. It is so important that many of the alums return to make EPA a stronger community.

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Posted by Jim Phillips
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Aug 14, 2013 at 11:10 am

Cheers for Foundation for a College Education (FCE), the students, parents, and East Palo Alto community members!

FCE has been a creative force in our area - going on two decades. I'm so glad to see that the organization remains energetically on the leading edge.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Since I was not familiar with the term "design thinking", I did some research. What I found is troubling to me as it has aspects of social manipulation in its application. "(design thinking) is a form of solution-based, or solution-focused thinking that starts with the goal of what is meant to be achieved instead of starting with a certain problem."wikipedia. By stating a given goal up front, and then asking for a creative solution to reach that goal, makes the assumption that the stated goal is the only valid one and that no other goal is available for discussion; simply stated, here is the goal now creatively get us there. Those involved in the process have been effectively channeled and pre programmed to arrive at the pre determined goal, with only the path to that goal the product of "design thinking"
To me, this concept is ripe for abuse as a social manipulation tool. How many of you have, as I, attended government meetings where we were asked for our input to solve a problem? Staff lays out just enough information so the path is a simple one to the goal that staff wants. Staff gets what they want without a lot of messy discussion, and the public feels that they have had a voice in the process.
Perhaps "design thinking" has more merit than I am giving it, but if it quack like a duck........

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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 17, 2013 at 7:46 pm

@Bob -

"...spent four weeks teaching the middle school students how to apply the steps of "design thinking," which they described as "empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test."" from the article, reads as though it meets your objections. Are your objections that you want a more paternalistic top-down approach? Is there something wrong with raising the kids to be Americans? The campaign they came up with sounded very practical.

ps - Corporations are stuffing so much lobbied labor immigration into the recent immigration bills in Washington that the EPA kids will be pushed out of STEM in general as a future. The PA kids will be pushed out much after 30-35 as well. Again, brain-draining the world is a privilege, but what's happening is way beyond that yet under the voter's radar. Adding up all the programs projected is pushing a quarter million a year in mostly tech workers alone. Then several hundred thousand a year more in low skilled occupations. There is no evidence of labor shortages.

You and your family and neighborhood may have more common cause with the kids in EPA than you may think.

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Posted by Innovate
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Read "Change by Design" by Tim Brown, CEO of the design firm IDEO, for a more rational explanation of design thinking than that provided by "Bob." From what I read, it has nothing to do with the dreaded social manipulation that Bob posits.

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