Design is a Skill
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
Design is a skill. You get better at it by practicing, and Design Thinking for
Libraries is a great way to practice. You might recognize
Design Thinking as the topic of the upcoming ALA 2015 PLA Preconference
in San Francisco. You don't have to travel that far to learn about
A key part of Design Thinking is asking questions. What problem do
you want to solve? You try to write out your challenge as a series of
questions: How might we...? You find inspiration by talking to
the people you are designing for, asking questions about your challenge
but also about themselves.
Questions create the possibility of a collaboration
between the person asking and the person answering, but first you have
to tell people why you're asking. Explaining the context of the question
allows them to think with you.
For example, explain to a teenager that your library wants to teach
teens how to use emerging technology like 3D printers. That's a great
way to open a conversation. How might teens use that kind of technology?
How could it relate to that teen's hobbies or interests? What knowledge
would help teens become more interested in tech?
Conversations like these get easier with practice, and the
payoff can be substantial. Not only do you walk away with
specific ideas, but you're building relationships with patrons who have a
stake in the challenges you're trying to solve. And it starts with a
- Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator
Design Thinking at
SWON's Membership Meeting
SWON's spring meetings have been focused on innovation for the last
several years, and we're following that theme with a session on Design
Thinking for Libraries. Speaking with us will be Cindy Tripp,
who has taught Design Thinking at the University of Cincinnati Lindner
School for Business, as well as other venues.
Together, we'll learn about the process steps of Design Thinking, and
we'll put them into practice with hands-on activities. Join us for this
great session, enjoy lunch with your colleagues, and learn about SWON's
plans for the year at our brief but important membership meeting. It's
open to everyone! We hope you'll join
us May 26th.