The Case For Teaching Design Thinking in Schools, And What It Means For HR.
Robert Fulghum’s New York Times bestselling book on life’s most essential lessons has been a favorite among HR professionals for decades. In it, Fulghum offers a simple, but compelling, philosophy: the values we learned in kindergarten are the ones we should live by as adults. He argues that sharing, listening, apologizing and watching out for one another comprise the essential ingredients of conscientious adulthood.
Over the years, HR has finessed Fulghum’s list, molding it to fit the workplace. “Share” became “collaborate.” “Listening” became “effective communication.” These little tweaks in language have helped sell the idea that workplaces can thrive off the most fundamental values. But are they really enough?
There’s a new movement afoot that takes the lessons we learned in kindergarten and advocates adding something new to the mix: design thinking. The logic goes that teaching design thinking in elementary school better prepares kids for the challenges of life. The Indian Express recently ran an article on the subject, suggesting that early design thinking education will have long-term benefits for workplace culture.
You might be thinking: Why teach creative problem-solving to kids who don’t know how to read yet? Can design thinking really settle who gets to play with the red truck in the sandbox?
The philosophy argues that laying an early foundation for imaginative strategizing is crucial. By encouraging brainstorming and experimentation, design thinking helps kids develop a flexible attitude towards problem-solving—one that demands non-judgemental creativity. This introduction to open-minded collaboration has the additional benefit of fostering empathy among young children.
Has the snowflake mentality of millennials made empathy rare in today’s workplace? Generation Y gets a lot of flack for their alleged self-centeredness; some HR professionals maintain that an entitled mindset can damage productivity. Teaching design thinking in kindergarten might be a powerful preemptive solution.
You can read more on design thinking in schools in our next post.
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