DesignThinking and Parenting

Design thinking and parenting

Design Thinking is a state of mind!
The more I navigate the design practice, the more I am convinced this is a great truth.

I trust the Design Thinking approach as the problem-solving framework. It helps me to break down complexity, plan the execution of a design option(s), and eventually measure the outcome’s impact compared to the expected result. What’s the link between a design-related approach and the parenting experience? How do I consider this practice as a tool to enhance the parenting experience? How do I use the Design Thinking framework for navigating through the parenting-related uncharted waters?

As soon as these questions started to pile up, I began to see a bridge between how I rely on the design thinking approach as a designer and how I try to solve problems as a new parent.
Here’s what happened:

My fantastic journey as a parent marks one year, and so far, it looks like a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings that comes with new tasks and duties that keep piling up. Retrospectively looking at this first year, I tried to figure out how I performed as a parent of a brand-new human being.
What worked fine?
What didn’t work?
What will I improve in the short, mid and long run?

As a newbie in a parent’s role, I applied behavioural patterns that looked familiar to me. I looked back at the past twelve months and surprisingly found myself using the critical steps of the design thinking approach, such as empathising, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing! 

  • Step 1: I empathise with my client, AKA my son, as much as possible. This exercise is very complex because I am learning a new language. The third of my life! I need to be proficient in using a communication tool made by tears, smiles, inapprehensible hand gestures and lately, many “abubabbu”. These inputs are the basis of our communication, and I need to rely on them to figure out the problem(s) and understand the feedback.
  • Step 2: I quickly jump into the problem definition thanks to a shortlist of possible scenarios. Of course, my supervisor, AKA my wife, provides such a list! I’m referring to basic stuff such as: did he eat? When was the last time we changed his nappy?
  • Step 3: I often face a compressed timeline to ideate a solution. If my buddy cries loudly, the cause could be a combo of more reasons. Maybe he’s hungry and has a stomach ache or some external factors piss him out. Most of the time, I cannot solve multiple problems at once. Hence, I always ideate a plan for the short term to gain time for the long-term solution. 
  • Step 4: I react fast and pragmatically. This is the moment where the fun begins! I quickly set my solution up based on the critical point of the list I mentioned in point 1. A handy TODO list is beneficial to focus on providing the best option for the current pain/problem in the shortest timeframe. This approach is valuable because it makes the “user” feel safe. After all, he perceives I am working on the solution. In the end, we need to build trust, don’t we? 
  • Step 5: since the feedback will be impressively responsive, I will immediately learn if I’m or not on the right track. By observing the “user” reactions, I can understand the outcome. I checked the response and prayed that my initial assumption was correct. On the contrary, I try to keep my faith and quickly start the process over. 

Hold on. I oversimplified the reality, didn’t I?
Yes, I did because I have learned that being a parent is, at the same time, the most natural and complex life experience. It requires a lot of mental and physical effort. Lucky me, I am supported and guided by the best in the field, the mum of my son! Women are problem-solver creatures by nature. Observing her navigating the different stages of this experience gives me a great starting point for improving myself as a parent. It is a strenuous exercise, though, and I make the wrong choice occasionally.

I heard that success is a sequence of failures, so I keep rolling and “abubabbu”!

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