Kidizens Blog

Embracing Design Thinking for Everyday Problem Solving

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‘Order! Order! The New Bricksington City Council meeting is about to commence. On the agenda, today is the issue of taxes – residents of New Bricksington feel they have been set too high!’ Mayor Sylvie, aged 11, is opening the first city council meeting of the day. Yes, the city may be crafted from Legos and all city council members are under the age of 11 but the tone of the meeting is very serious and the issues of utmost importance for all.

However, the road to forming an idealistic society does not always run smoothly. Back in October, the city was struck by a fire due to the high temperatures and dry conditions. Mayor Sylvie and co-mayor Max led the city through these crises – all ideas were heard in several council meetings and the city now boasts a competent fire department and relief center. Hopefully, a relief from higher taxes would win a unanimous vote soon!
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Kidizens supports children in developing these critical thinking, collaborative and leadership skills.

Each child has the responsibility to take on a role to ensure the smooth running and development of their city, with every problem-solving exercise embracing a ‘Design Thinking’ approach. As not every ‘story’ told at Kidizens is a sugar-coated fairytale, but reflecting real world issues and problems, we undertake a systemic and iterative problem-solving approach that typically involves the following 5 steps –
• Empathize
o Grasping the issues across all of the state of Kidizens – while applying the budgetary and other economic constraints;
o Listening to peer’s ideas;
o Ability to understand the needs of others, think and problem solve for the entire city and its ‘residents’

• Define
o Defining the problems
o Discussing all possible solutions to every problem in a group (city council setting)

• Ideate
o Drawing on the real current and historic issues, discussing all possible ways the problems can be dealt with;
o Proposing blueprints of ideas;
o Celebrating examples of possible solutions, even if they do end up getting rejected;
o Learning through the consequences of the actions and going back to the drawing board if needed

• Prototype
o Creatively building solutions from the ground up for different problems and making LEGO prototypes

• Test
o Sharing all possible solutions and analyzing their effectiveness in the presented situation;
o Testing the solutions against budgetary, planning and policy constraints

The Kidizens experiences help children learn to internalize and value design thinking, ability to think logically and creatively, and take an active role in shaping the character of the cities.