1. Design Thinking applies to everyone (yes, even the person who claims that they can't draw)
Design is far more than pretty pictures. It is a process that can be applied in many areas. It applies to everyone in the room, the company, or the school. It isn’t about simply teaching the learners or participants, but including and educating everyone that they can add value to a design solution. I am not saying that everyone has to hold hands throughout (that isn't practical), but when it comes to solving, you actually need everyone to share with each other. What may be a solution for one, may perpetuate a problem for another, and how will you know that if the room is only filled with like minded people (or those who refuse to share with one another).
2. Design thinking requires you to let go of a controlled outcome.
Believe it or not, you are not teaching robots. You have to be comfortable with the idea that it won’t always go to plan, and it shouldn't. If you are getting exactly what you predicted every time, I have news for you, you are micro-managing! Don't get me wrong, you still have to prepare (and possibly even more), but you have to allow room for exploration and for everyone to add to the picture (which can look very different and even better from your own).
3. Every individual adds value in the room.
I read an incredible insight about empathy by Brené Brown, saying that empathy isn’t simply about putting down our lens and picking up someone elses to see their view (Because we can’t simply take off our lens). Empathy is about believing everyone’s story from their perspective. Actually believing their truth to be truth for them, without trying to show them otherwise. This brings in a whole new side to solving problems and has seriously challenged me to be more graceful to hearing out people who have polar opposite views to myself. Everyone adds value. Until we fully realise this, it isn't truly design thinking.
4. You don't know it all.
I feel this is quite freeing as it takes off the pressure to know it all. I also love how it encourages a place of sharing and connecting on a linear level, as opposed to a hierarchical setup. Everyone needs to be comfortable with playing interchangeable roles. The student must become the mentor and visa versa. If you find yourself the only one adding inputs in the room, maybe it's time for you to 'shut up' for a bit (sorry to be blunt, but it's true).
5. Being still isn't awkward.
Allow for pauses because they are as valuable and possibly even more valuable than moments of chatter. I often struggle with this because I love talking, but I have had to recognize that I can sometimes be overpowering. I'm working on that. It is fantastic to get energetic and share many ideas, but then it is important that you also allow room for those ideas to settle in.
All in all, design thinking is an ongoing process. I hope to always be applying this thinking to what I do. The moment it stops, so will growth.