Design Thinking – Creating Media to Empower Women & Girls

I had the pleasure of organizing and attending the Girls Innovate! Design Thinking Workshop with Maggie McCloud of Google for Education on January 25, 2014.

Maggie McCloud was a wonderful speaker and workshop leader. At only 24 years old, she is already the Product Marketing Manager at Google for Education. It was so inspirational for me to meet such an accomplished woman, at such a young age. I was able to connect to her message because I connected with her.

This workshop centered on the process of Design Thinking. It is a smart and efficient 5-step process consisting of the following elements: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. We learned about each step and then got to implement the process ourselves.

The girls were divided into small groups.

1. EMPATHY – if you want to help someone and make a change, you need to know how they feel and what would help them. So, we started off the workshop by interviewing each other about media.

  • How is media empowering? Disempowering?
  • What social medias do you use?
  • How does media influence your daily life?
  • Do you think media is a positive or negative presence?
  • How have you seen media help people?
  • How have you seen media hurt people?

These are just a couple of the questions we asked each other.

2. DEFINITION – we evaluated the interview answers and defined what the girls/moms wanted from media and what the problems they encountered were.

3. IDEATE – Also known as brainstorming, each group circled around a large piece of paper and wrote down all their thoughts. In only 10 minutes, every paper was filled with ideas and drawings.

4. PROTOTYPE – We choose our best brainstormed solutions and made a prototype. These ranged from Prezi presentations, to posters to clay models. We worked quickly to create something that could take us to the next level of problem solving.

5. TEST – last step of the Design Thinking workshop was to test our prototypes. We brought back the interviewees and asked their opinion on our prototyped solution to their problem.

At the very end each group presented their problem, solution and prototype to the group. It was amazing! Somehow Maggie McCloud had taught helped us implement our own Design Thinking prototypes in only 2 hours. Each group had come up with an original and interesting plan to solve a problem with media. A group of girls 12-16 years old had brainstormed ways to change the world! Each idea was different, but all were shared a common theme: creating a personalized space where girls and young women feel safe to express themselves and share with other girls.

This 4-hour workshop has changed the way I will think for the rest of my life. It is a logical way to thoroughly evaluate a problem and come up with a viable solution. Design Thinking makes so much sense!

Click here to view my introduction with Emma.