Over 100 ladies of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) participated in a session on Thursday 30th March 2017 that allowed them to use a design thinking approach in identifying their challenges.
The session was during a Girls Talk Forum organized by the Women’s Commission of the Student Representative Council for ladies to meet and solicit their perspective on various issues.
Design Thinking is a problem-solving approach used by various organizations like Ideo, Google, Apple to create a user-centered solution or unravel individual perspective on issues. The concept of design Thinking evolves around the process of Empathy, Define, ideate, prototype, and test. Design Thinking is still gaining grounds in Ghana but has been used by certain organizations in Ghana like mHealth to develop their MOTECH platform. Vlisco Ghana and Ho Node – a digital innovation hub in the Volta Region. Ashesi University has a Design Thinking lab where students develop various products and services using the design thinking approach.
The design thinking session was facilitated by Nathaniel Alpha – a design thinking trainer supported by Justica Amina, a student blogger.
Instead of using the normal panel discussion method; where the MC comes with her own prepared question for the panelist to answer, we used two of the design thinking approach which is empathy and define to unravel the challenges of ladies in GIJ.
Sometimes, the panel discussions we have do not usually reflect what people want to know or hear. Someone(MC) asks the questions of his or her choice and the panel answers, which is the traditional way of doing panel discussions. Using the design thinking approach, we asked the ladies to write one of their challenges on a sticker note we distributed and instructed them to paste it on a cardboard we had fixed to the wall. What this did was that it allowed the ladies to freely state their challenges without being victimized. We then asked the panel to answer questions relating to the challenges they stated. Justica read the questions and the panel answered. We were even surprised at some of the questions they posted. These were questions they wouldn’t raise their hands and tell you if you use the old approach. There is more we could have done, we should have asked them to state the causes and the effects of the challenges they stated and they would have realized their role in the very challenge they stated. Design thinking can be applied to several sectors like banking, entrepreneurship, Journalism etc; this was just one of them.
Thanks to the support of the Design Thinking Ghana Group, I am currently developing a design Thinking curriculum that can help teach “Design Thinking” to journalism students in various communication institutions. The Design Thinking Ghana group is an active group of people with diverse backgrounds interested in promoting design thinking in their various fields. The group was founded on February 14th, 2015 and has since been organizing various design thinking meet-ups to promote the use of design thinking in Ghana.
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Written by Nathaniel Alpha
A journalist in training at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.