Looking for a Cetamol or a cause of the fever?

Design thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the people's empathy (we tend to listen to the problem but I’m not so sure if we understand people’s empathy), difficulties, challenges, and redefine problems to get to the specific core issue in an effort to identify alternative solutions and strategies that is beyond our initial level of understanding. Design thinking attempts to give a solution-based approach in order to solve the problems.

In summer 2019, I got a chance to participate in BUCSBIN Concept Development for Impact 2019 workshop. BUSCSBIN stands for Building University Capacity to Support Business Incubation in Nepal which is all about learning new competencies, developing, supporting, creating business and innovative solutions. 

In this workshop, we had to define the problem, work with possible solutions and after that, we had to build our own prototype and then we had to test it in the local community. BUCSBIN was a really productive workshop. We worked in building and understanding empathy, defining the problem, ideating possible solutions, building a prototype, and testing the solution among the stakeholders. Being a team and working as a team has been a great challenge in Nepal for most of the organizations. We are used to working independently and thinking about our own success. Eventually, when it comes to companies, teamwork has failed or couldn’t perform as expected.

In this workshop, I learned about team building progress and networked with many people. I noticed that working as a team wasn’t that easy. We had to understand each other, and it was hard as we came from diverse backgrounds and expertise. With all this, we had to find our own way to make our ideas and choices. It was all about communication as a team. In the workshop, my skills have developed and after the workshop, I noticed that it had affected my way of thinking. Like nowadays I’m looking at problems and their solutions in a more user-centric way.

We generally jump into the solution or conclusion when we encounter any problem. Our brain generally begins with the solution rather than analyzing the problem. For instance, if we happen to suffer from fever, we tend to jump to the solution of taking paracetamol instead of figuring out the actual cause of the fever. When the core problem is identified the solution will then be functional in the long run. The workshop has transformed me to identify the actual problem rather than readily building up solutions. We should look at the different root causes of the problem at the initial level. After identifying the major causes, we should look at the possible alternative solution. I can really relate to the transformation that I have gone through after this workshop. I use to offer money for the street children portraying a solution in my head that this would ease their life, they would be able to buy food for themselves and ultimately have a better lifestyle but now I begin with the analysis of the problem, why are they actually begging? Is it because of food or they are incapable of having a sustainable life? Money that I offer was never a long-term sustainable solution, hence, now I look for funding and sponsorship for their education that would make them self-sustainable and independent. This is a long-term design of the solution rather than the temporary offering of money which would make them dependent for the rest of their lives.

The most awesome feeling that I could experience in the workshop was certainly the feedback circle. Right from my childhood, I have been accustomed to one to one feedback sessions or purely anonymous paper-based feedback but here we have a circle and each of us provides feedback upfront which made me accountable for what I say. The real connection with the group for whom I am providing feedback too was readily visible. It was very authentic, sincere and time-bounded. So, it was really nice that everyone spoke out of their hearts and gave meaningful and constructive feedback to each other.

Working with many people gave me many lessons for life. Through this workshop, I learned how we can understand the needs of people and communities through market research. I realized that our thoughts or our personal perception regarding any matter is always at a good side in our head but the reality can be different from what we think hence, market research helps to connect the community and business to solve the problem of the community in a sustainable way based on the actual problems on the ground rather than the assumptions in our head. For me, this workshop was fruitful as I networked with many people nationally and internationally. I believe that this networking helps me to develop and improve my own skills, stay in touch with the latest global trends, and gain access to the necessary resources that foster my career development. I am really thankful to the friends, LABmasters, and other students from different universities and friends from Finland, Bangladesh because of them I learned the importance and management of time which often lags in our culture. I believed that design thinking workshop is important for the sustainable development in the developing countries like Nepal as the participants are able to understand the real problems of the communities and digging their root causes to find the concrete sustainable solutions.