Friday, June 28, 2019

Design Thinking workshop at Alliance University

David Kelley, Stanford Design School
As part of the Open Forum of Alliance University, today we did an Open Forum on Design Thinking on Friday, 28 June 2019. Prof. Sukanya Kundu led the discussion on Design Thinking which was followed by myself taking over with some explanation and characteristics of Wicked problems. Wicked problems as different from tamed problems are problems which do not have a single, simple solution, it is dynamic and the optimal points can change over time. Click here for a copy of my presentation .. David Kelley of the Stanford Design School is the founder of Ideo and the original proponent of Design Thinking..

We had a novel empathising approach for the brainstorming activity. Every member taking part in the brainstorming session had to narrate an unfortunate and sad event of their life in the introduction stage to instill an empathising and self involving approach. Click here to understand Brainstorming approach developed by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Roger Sperry from Caltech, which is one of the basic components of Design Thinking ..

Participants of the workshop narrated touching, moving incidents in their life, like escaping from a very serious air accident in Arabia, to being involved in a serious bus accident, to having a serious and crippling low back-ache, novel challenging and professionally threatening work experiences at the first job.

Different stages in Design Thinking starting with empathize .
The participants thus gave a very empathising beginning to the brainstorming or ideating session. After this self-introduction, the members were asked to give innovative suggestions for solving the water crisis that is crippling Bangalore, saving water in the city of Bangalore.

The participants gave very insightful recommendations to solve the water crisis. They are listed here for the benefit of the participants (red indicates the most repeated and important ones as agreed by the participants)

1. Building construction is a cause for water crisis. Stop building construction.

2. Leakage of water to be stopped from leaking pipes and taps

3. Deploy Rainwater Harvesting in homes

4. Washing of cars from municipal / borewell water to be done less frequently

5. Reverse Osmosis to be made available in all homes

6. Reclaim / save water bodies
7. Deploy Rain water harvesting on rooftops in homes

8. Recycling water from kitchen etc

9. Creating awareness on conserving water

10. Sensitise industries to use less water

11. Reduce construction activities

12. Lakes that have been leveled for construction activities should be reclaimed and allowed to fill with water

13. Companies should meet their water needs from their personal resources and by recycling

14. Recycling of waste water by every apartment building
15. Use showers less for bathing, use buckets

16. Use grey water for gardening and toilet uses

17. Have variable capacity flush in toilets

18. Reduce cemented floors to reduce storm water generation

19. Deploy better storm water drainage to allow water to permeate to the ground
The quality and quantity of the discussion we found was quite good. We intend to communicate this to the city infrastructure and municipal authorities.

Prototyping and testing will be done  later as this is a large wicked problem which does not have an exact solution and can have very dynamic solutions.



  1. Great insights to the wicked and tamed problems.Must appreciate Dr. Easaw to meticulously summarizing the session for those who missed it.

  2. Thank you for the kind words Aswathi. we will have repeat sessions too, so that others can participate and benefit from Design Thinking approach. The challenge is to imbibe this in our daily professional and personal activities .. We can think of calling Prof David Kelley himself to our campus one day.


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