Problem solving with design

Uploaded by UniversityofMinn on 30.03.2011

Students from the University of Minnesota's College
of Design teamed up with their colleagues from around campus
to tackle some of the most pressing health issues facing
America in a weekend-long event called a "Charette".
Design Charette is basically a creative workshop
where you get a variety of people together,
focused on a project or a problem,
and they work intensively for anywhere from one to three days
and come up with some proposals
about what could be and present that.
It's a way to get a lot of disciplines working together
on a project or a problem and come up with creative solutions.
College of Design Dean Tom Fisher was one
of the leaders of the Charette.
Fisher's and the student's goal is making the Minnesota State
Health Improvement Program or SHIP more sustainable.
There are two areas in particular that we are focused
on obesity and tobacco use.
So we're going to look
at how environmental factors have worked
against people getting adequate exercise.
So how can we design our physical environment to do that,
as well as looking at media images related to tobacco
and how can we change the media messages so that we start
to discourage this big killer.
Starting on Friday night and ending on Saturday night,
the students engaged in intense 24-hour period of brainstorming.
Well, design is a practical form of play.
What we really want people to do is to let go
of what we have been doing
so that they can imagine what we could do.
I think the best results of a Charette are a set
of really creative out-of-the-box ideas
that we can then assess at the end,
in terms of which are more practical,
which are more doable than others.
But all of us hope that we will, through this process,
come up with things people haven't thought of before.
It is both a liberating creative process, but it also ends
up with very practical results.
One of the reasons a Charette like this works so well at the U
of M, is the wide breadth
of knowledge the University brings together
with its diverse set of programs, students and faculty.
We have design students, art students, business, law,
public health, public policy students all working together.
I think that's one of the great advantages of a place
like Minnesota we're one
of the most comprehensive universities in the country.
We're starting to apply design thinking into all
of these fields to come up with new solutions.
A Charette like this is a way
to bring together these disciplines bring all
of that expertise to find better solutions.
To many casual observers, design means clothing
or cars or graphic design.
What this Charette shows, is that design is also a way
of thinking about and tackling a real-world problem.
For example, tobacco addiction or obesity.
Creativity doesn't just happen in a design school.
We need creative scientists.
We need creative public policy analysts.
We need creativity throughout our society if we're going
to compete in the global economy.
In the end, Fisher expects the ideas generated
at the Charette will go a long way towards helping Minnesotans
live healthier lives.
Oh, absolutely.
These will be ideas that will be of great use
to the Department of Health.
They recognize that we need to think differently about how
to sustain programs like that at a time when there's less
and less money to keep doing what we've been doing.
I definitely think that we'll generate some things
that will lead to real action.