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CREATIVE CONFIDENCE AND DESIGN THINKING

By: Shrikrishna B. Pawar (deaniia@jnec.ac.in)
Date: 29th Sept 2021

What is Creative About Creativity?
World Economic Forum releases the Future of Jobs Report that lists top 10 skills of 2025 by studying the pace of technology development, future job generation and skill requirement. Amazingly, out of 10 listed skills, five skills are related to creativity. It can be regarded as indication of how significant creativity will be in near future. A creativity skill is surely most sought after skills in comparison to technology based skills.


Can Creativity be Taught in Classroom?
It is widespread perception that creativity belong to only “creative-type” of people and someone really needs to be blessed with such talent. Actually everyone is equally curious, imaginative and creative, for instance provide a kid with blank paper and some color pencils, they end up drawing the things and identifies it as their family members which they do not resembles anyhow. Here a kid does not come across any stumbling block and unleash the creativity through visual imagination in the form of drawing. However with formal education pattern and socialization, these creative thoughts are taken over by analytical one. This might be the reason Sir Ken Robinson, in his famous Ted Talk, had critique the social stigma such as fear of failure, societal expectation and non acceptance of mistakes in conventional educational systems which are killing the creativity of young learner.Now question may arise whether creativity can really be taught in classroom? One of the popular approaches to teach creativity in classroom was implemented by Prof. John E. Arnold in 1950s at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He developed Creative Engineering course for engineering students and assign these students with some projects of futuristic settings. Arcturus IV, imaginary planet was the setting for which students were required to design the various products and machineries.

Creative  blog

Creative blog

Projects involved designing tools and appliances for inhabitants of Arcturus IV, having different anatomical structure, like three eyes and middle eyes is having X ray vision. Planet is also having very different environment such as summer and winter temperature will be in the range of -50° C and -100° C respectively. Such novel approach had helped engineering students in developing different skills such as complex problem solving, creative thinking and ideation.

Creativity is a base which is used for building the innovations. Creativity has its own pattern and these methodical patterns can be learned and applied the way analytical skills are learned and applied. One of the popular methodological innovation tools, TRIZ is the acronym for popular innovation methodology "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving," developed by Genrich S. Altshuller, scientist and engineer from USSR during 1946 to 1985. TRIZ is based upon the concept of repetitive patterns of technical evolution. It means problems and solutions are repeated across different fields and problem solver can utilize this pattern to generalize the problem and solution by applying 40 TRIZ principles.



Creative Confidence and Design Thinking
Multi-levels of creative knowledge, skills and approach can be build among students or say engineering students through classroom setting which will help in developing the creative capability which is known as creative confidence. In simple words, a confidence that, one can show with creativity or can exhibit creative skills irrespective of knowledge acquired or academic credentials is referred as creative confidence. Everyone is creative, what really need is to have that confidence.

I have experimented in classroom with an activity wherein students were informed to draw the sketch of student sitting next to them or in some cases, sketch of myself in three minutes. Sketch sharing from students is a fun experience as most of the students are not proficient with such form of sketching skill. Activity is completed with customary discussion about question – If you know that you are not good at sketching, how you thought that you can actually sketch? With few moment of silence followed by laugh, students were introduced to a concept called creative confidence.

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IDEO founder and Stanford d. School creator, David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley, IDEO partner and the author of the bestselling book Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All has defined it as; Creative confidence is about believing in your ability to create change in the world around you. This self-assurance lies at the heart of innovation. Design Thinking is innovative human centric approach of problem solving which utilizes the principles of empathy and creative confidence. By helping many individuals and organization in unleashing creative capabilities with design thinking approach at Stanford d.School, Kelly brothers founded design and innovation consultancy IDEO. Traditional design approach was focused on considerations such as Feasibility (Technological aspect) and Viability (Commercial aspects), whereas Design thinking has focused on desirability (Human aspect). IDEO is using design thinking in designing the solutions in terms of product, or process with iterative approach. Design thinking is providing the solutions with deep understanding of the user. Leading companies such as Apple, Samsung and Google have utilized the design thinking approach in their product development process. With the autonomy of designing the syllabus of engineering program, the board of studies for Department of Mechanical Engineering at Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College has introduced a credit based course DESIGN THINKING for Second Year B. Tech students. This will help the students to understand human centric approach in early days of their engineering education. With problem based approach, student will be getting an opportunity to design the solution for selected problems.

“Design thinking helps us in widening the thought process and at the same time, allows to maintain human centric approach in problem solving” opines Pratik Patil (Second Year Mechanical Engineering Student) about his early impression of design thinking course, planning to work on social issue as a part of his design thinking project. Design thinking may be in its early phases in this part of the world, however with its potential value preposition, it will find applications in different fields of society and in industry particularly.

(Author is Incharge of Industry Institute Interaction Cell and Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering of Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College (JNEC) which is constituent college of MGM University, Aurangabad.)