wWCHS Showcase

WCHS Showcase

Showcase Title


Crash Course in
Design Thinking for Innovation

On the evening of October 22, 2014 Western Canada High School hosted a hands-on “Crash Course in Design Thinking for Innovation” workshop for students.  The workshop was facilitated by Jessica Fan, a former Western student who has worked as a User Experience Designer for Google, Adaptive Path, and Tsinghua University in Beijing.  She has founded several start-ups and participated in projects in education, sustainable agriculture, financial services, and healthcare. 

Ms. Fan presented a process for design and innovation that is focused on the end user and improving their experience with the product or service.  The process involves several stages:

  1. Empathy:  Students interview the end-user to determine their concerns and issues related to the product or service.  This stage is meant to capture as much information as possible about the design problem.
  2. Define:  Students capture their findings from the “empathy” stage and summarize users’ needs and insights to focus their work.
  3. Ideate:  Students brainstorm possible solutions.  During this stage, students are encouraged to be creative and come up with many different ideas; they should try to come up with radical, outside-the-box ideas.  They write or sketch concepts which are then shared with partners for feedback and questions.  Finally, groups reflect and generate a new solution.
  4. Prototype:  Students build a prototype for their idea.
  5. Test:  Students share their solution, run tests and trials to see how well it works, and obtain feedback from each other and the end-user.
  6. Iterate:  Learnings from all stages are used to review and evaluate their solution and generate further improvements.
During the workshop, students were asked to improve the gift-giving process.  Students interviewed each other to find where people have trouble in finding, buying, and giving gifts to friends and family members.  They then developed ideas that might help make gift-giving easier, more personal, and more meaningful for the receiver.  Mock-ups and prototypes were created and finally the entire group shared their innovations in a large group sharing and de-brief time.


Learning | as unique | as every student