This year’s edition of Design Thinking Week in Kraków was short in time, but not in ideas and passion. There were workshops on how to become more empathetic, a project to create new version of a traditional Cracovian hat that would appeal as a souvenir, and a meetup of officially christened Service Design Network Chapter Poland (a part of the global Service Design Network). I was happy that this year all design thinkers in Krakow were interested to hear about an experiment I performed in Derry, Northern Ireland while living and working there.


The experiment started because I felt I failed the first workshop I was hired to do. I had a project of teaching design thinking to kids at the local college. Easy enough, project-based, interwoven into their curriculum but based on their work only. At this point I knew Derry and its problems quite well, I did my research on the social cases, talked to my friends. I felt ready. So I went, I started, and… the kids were silent, didn’t want to participate (and I mean more than I expected them to), and were quite rowdy and unruly even to their usual teachers (something that was quite unacceptable for me, to be honest).


I decided then to turn this into an experiment and see if I can use design thinking and service design thinking principles to design my relationship with them. Not only redesign the workshops but actually, treat our contact as a service and try to treat them how people should not be treated – objectively. But only for the purpose of my experiment!


This was a challenge. It was hard to turn off my empathy towards others, and my constant need to be an active part of the local community. I needed not to be the facilitator, but plan this as a service.


You can read more about the actual project here: Atlantic Social Lab – project-based design thinking project at local college in Derry.


You can read more about the meetup in Krakow in Polish here: Article about SDN Chapter Poland meet-up during DT Week 2018 in Cracow, in Polish.