LEARN LIKE AN AVENGER – USING DESIGN THINKING TO SUPERCHARGE EDUCATION

“And I… Am… Iron Man!”

No one is ever going to forget that dialogue. No one ever expected what it entailed. And it will forever remain etched as a delightfully gut-wrenching memory. But what made it so awesome? What did the creators follow in order to make sure of the intended impact? Is there something we can derive from the multitude of Marvel movies? Is there an element of learning to be understood from them? Well, yes!

The creation and execution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a study in Design Thinking. It is the prime example of the fail fast, fail forward philosophy. Here, we will dissect this to understand how a blueprint of Marvel’s approach can help us trace a better mechanism for learning at top degree colleges in bangalore. We will boil down the narrative to acknowledge what made each scene and storyline so impactful. But first, let us understand Design Thinking.

FAIL FAST, FAIL FORWARD – UNDERSTANDING DESIGN THINKING

Design Thinking, in essence, can be understood as a non-linear progression of 5 steps: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. But in practice, it transcends these steps. Design Thinking is a mindset. It is about keeping the receivers of the solution at the core and then formulating the fix. 

The Five Step Formula:

  • Empathize: Understand the problem from the user’s perspective. 
  • Define: Frame the problem in your own words. 
  • Ideate: Generate potential solutions. 
  • Prototype: Create a prototype of your solution. 
  • Test: Try out your prototype with users.

Now, let us understand how the MCU got this right. And how we can adopt it to sculpt a better learning experience. For that, let us look at the 2 characters: Iron Man and The Hulk. 

FAILING FORWARD WITH MR. STARK

Iron Man is one of the most popular superheroes out there, and part of his appeal is that he’s not perfect. He’s made his share of mistakes, but he’s always learned from them and used that knowledge to make his suit better.

Iron Man is also a great example of how design thinking can be used to solve problems. Tony Stark is constantly faced with challenges that require him to think outside the box. He uses design thinking to come up with new ways to defeat his enemies. For example, when he was faced with the problem of how to stop the Mandarin’s drones, he used design thinking to come up with a solution. He created a prototype of a device that could jam the signals of the drones. He then tested it out and made adjustments until it worked perfectly.

Learning from Mr.Stark, students have to apply whatever they have learned, IMMEDIATELY. This will open up significant leeway to fail safely and improve. 

  • Took a writing lesson? Start writing right away. 
  • Took a design course? Use the tool immediately. 
  • Came across a new mathematical formula? Try solving a related problem.

This way, you will soon realize that surface knowledge is not enough. It is necessary to understand the nuances of application to aptly move forward with the acquired knowledge. It is important to act on feedback. It may be painful, counter productive or downright impossible. But, like Tony said, “sometimes you’ve gotta run before you can even walk.” 

HULK – THE MEAN, GREEN, EMPATHY MACHINE

The Hulk is one of the most lovable characters in the MCU. And he is not just a superhero – he’s a design thinking powerhouse. 

What strikes us most is his transformation in Avengers: Endgame. When he “put together the brain and the brawn”. And got the “best of both worlds”. Dr. Banner empathized with what Hulk is. And he turned that into the solution. He understood that the strength needed an outlet, but the outlet had to be controlled. This insight was gained through reflective thinking, or in other words, empathy. Bruce put together a mechanism where the outcome could leverage the best that the situation had to offer. 

What students can take away from this is to understand what you have at hand. Are you experiencing trouble with scoring marks? Understand your pain points. Are you having trouble with calculations? Or is it conceptual misalignments? Are you experiencing learning gaps? 

Often, any challenge can be fixed by tweaking your approach. Once you identify your pain points, map them on to your strengths. Get a mentor who can guide you through this. This will help keep you on track and stay motivated.

MCU: MOVING FROM MVP TO MLP

MVP is Minimum Viable Product. MLP, on the other hand, is the Minimum Lovable Product. What’s the difference? While MVP depends on what we are capable of doing, MLP is centered around what the situation actually requires. And that’s what the MCU successfully does.

If you’ve ever watched a Marvel movie, you know that the makers aren’t afraid to take risks. And it turns out that this penchant for risk-taking is actually part of their design thinking process. In a recent interview, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige explained how the company uses design thinking to come up with new movie ideas.

Marvel movies use design thinking in a number of ways. For example; 

  • The writers and directors of these movies spend a lot of time thinking about the user experience. 
  • They want to make sure that the audience is engaged and that they are providing a positive experience.
  • Another way that Marvel movies use design thinking is by constantly innovating. 
  • The team behind these movies is always looking for new ways to improve the franchise. 
  • They are constantly trying to come up with new ideas and ways to make the movies better.

All in all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a drool-worthy case study of Design Thinking. Now, time to get back to our Universe. 

DESIGN THINKING: MCU TO CMRU

Drawing from the benefits of Design Thinking, CMR University is one of the first universities in the nation to highlight the importance of design thinking for students and inculcating this into the curriculum. The Department of Common Core Curriculum has spearheaded various design thinking vantage points for the holistic development of the students.

Here are three ways that you can use design thinking in college:

  1. When Choosing a Major or Career Path

If you’re unsure of what you want to study or what kind of career you want to pursue, design thinking can help you figure it out. Start by talking to people in your life who have jobs that interest you. Find out what they like and don’t like about their work. What problem do they feel they are solving in their role?

What are your skills and interests? What are your values? What kind of work environment do you envision for yourself? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your options and choose a major or career path that is right for you.

  1. When Facing a Challenge

Whether you’re struggling with a difficult class, trying to decide how to spend your break, or facing any other type of challenge, design thinking can help you find a solution.

Start by brainstorming. Write down all of the possible solutions to your problem, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. Then, start to narrow down your options by considering the feasibility of each one.

Once you have a few possible solutions, it’s time to start prototyping. This means testing out your ideas to see if they are actually viable. For example, if you’re trying to decide whether to take a gap year, you could talk to people who have done it and find out what their experience was like.

After you’ve gathered enough information, it’s time to make a decision and take action. By using design thinking, you can be sure that you’re choosing the best possible solution to your problem.

  1. When Working on a Group Project

The benefits of design thinking for students is stupendous, especially while working on a group project for a class. Design thinking can help you and your teammates to come up with the best possible solution to the problem you’re trying to solve.

Start by brainstorming as a group. Write down all of the ideas that you and your teammates come up with, no matter how crazy they may seem. Then, start to narrow down your options by considering the feasibility of each one.

Once you have a few possible solutions, it’s time to start prototyping. This means testing out your ideas to see if they are actually viable. For example, if you’re working on a marketing campaign, you could create a mock-up of your proposed design and test it out on a group of people to see if it is effective.

After you’ve gathered enough information, it’s time to make a decision and take action. By using design thinking, you can be sure that you’re choosing the best possible solution to the problem you’re trying to solve.

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