by Andre Corona and Kyle Chang, Grade 11 Students at Crescent School
Over the Winter Term, we took part in Crescent’s new leadership program, where we set out to solve problems in the local community using the “design thinking” process. The purpose of design thinking is to go through the steps of empathizing with the user, defining a problem, ideating solutions and prototyping ideas in order to create an effective solution.
Our group was tasked to help Seniors’ Wish, a program that encourages interaction between high school students and seniors through art. Here are the top five things we learned throughout this process:
Despite living in retirement homes, seniors can still suffer from loneliness. As Paul Elia, the founder of Seniors’ Wish, stated, “seniors want to meet young people that are not interesting, but interested.”
A team works best when each member is adaptable and has different strengths. Our group of four was very busy throughout the term, but we all played a unique role that was crucial in the process.
We can’t fix everything. Seniors’ Wish has problems getting public school students into their program due to difficulties with the board. We recognized that solving this problem was beyond our capabilities as Crescent students, so we decided to take on a different challenge.
Don’t skip steps in the design thinking process. We realized that each phase is crucial in the development of the prototype that would solve our problem.
Understand the problem before solving it. To find out how we could help Seniors’ Wish, our first step was to observe and interview people in the program. Once we understood the problem, it was much easier to solve.
Our proposed solution to increase student involvement in Seniors’ Wish was creating a promotional video to get the word out about the benefits of the program. Here is a link to our final prototype video, which will be shown to Crescent students to encourage participation in Seniors’ Wish.