Many people believe design to be related only to creativity. Design is just for those with creative minds. Problem-solving has nothing to do with design. I would not mind labelling these statements as pure misconceptions to burst the bubble. Previously we had an in-depth discussion about the role of design in our everyday life. Everything we do on a daily basis, including opening bathroom doors and even brushing our teeth, is based on design thinking.
For a moment, let us question these everyday designs. What if you had a bathroom door that opened upside down? What if that door simply shattered every time you tried to open it? What if you didn't have to bother using a brush at all? Imagine a beverage like tea, which may have certain ingredients which help you clean your teeth and give you fresh breath by sipping it first thing in the morning. Here, we are questioning more than just the design but also its functionality.
Let us continue with the example of a toothbrush. Alongside the handle of the toothbrush being ergonomic, the bristles of the brush help in cleaning the fine gaps between our teeth. When we think about the idea of a beverage that will help clean our teeth, we find tea doing something similar. The bacteria in the mouth are known to be eliminated by a hot cup of tea and further pushed into the stomach, where the same bacteria aid in improved digestion.
But again, you need help cleaning the food that gets lodged between the spaces of your teeth. Now imagine a beverage that can help you even get rid of the particles that are stuck between your teeth. The primary use of a toothbrush is to help remove the food that is trapped. A mouthwash would suffice if we only needed a fresh breath.
The invention of the toothbrush was not an overnight miracle. It only happened because someone asked the question, "what if?". As humans, I think we frequently need to ask ourselves such questions. We did that earlier, and we need to do it now and even in the future. Only when we ask these questions will we be able to acknowledge, understand and implement design thinking. The initiation of this thought process is very crucial to become a person capable of changing the world.
Think of when you were a kid—when you were unaware of the ways of life. You start asking yourself questions. For example, you are not taught that walls can be only painted with one colour. You question yourself, "what if I draw on this wall?". You go ahead, grab a crayon and start drawing over the walls. No one stops you at that point. As you may have noticed, children tend to ask many questions. That is because they are curious. Before accepting anything, they would ask you at least ten questions. The exact opposite happens with grown-ups, who are conditioned to accept certain ideas or ways of life.
Children start with the questions of "what", and once they get their answers, they move on to the "what if's". What is this? Why is it like this? Why is it kept here? And finally, what if we keep it there? Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
A simple example is while learning to ride a bicycle. It starts with identifying the bicycle by asking what it is. Once they try their hands on it, they start experimenting with the same, fall down a couple of times, and their what if's are then clarified. At this point, they know that a bicycle has to be ridden a certain way to ensure they do not hurt themselves.
Today, people calculate these what if's. It could be because of certain etiquette, rules, social conditions, environment, and, most importantly, the education we receive. This is when we start losing the ability to question things around us. Most importantly, this is where we start losing the creativity inside us. So the next time you think you are not a creative person, start identifying problems and asking, "what if?". This is when you will realise that every person has creativity inside them, and it is not something that only a few people are blessed with.
This article and the content is copyright protected. Copyrights: Dhruva S. Paknikar 2022.