Life Designing Concept

为高中生设计的生命设计工作坊

2017

Shijie Edu Tech Co. Ltd.

I always have a question: If life is designable, what kind of product should it look like? In order to find the answer, I lead a group of career education enthusiasts from various backgrounds, got some insights after more than a month of exploration and learning. We combined design thinking with career theory and incorporated it into the workshop, in which we designed a new way for them -- high school students -- to learn the career planning.

In July 2017, after more than a month of designing and polishing, two LIFE DESIGNING workshops were opened in Xiamen, China. Participants were high school students. Currently in China, the career education of middle school students is full of difficulties. On the one hand, most students can only enter the university through the college entrance examination (An extremely difficult exam in China). On the other hand, the reform of education policy in China requires students to realize the importance of career planning earlier. Therefore, they needed career guidance that is fresh, effective, and in line with the current Chinese education situation, which will help themselves plan ahead for the future life in high school.

01 设计思维+生涯理论的跨界合作
Life Designing = Design Thinking + Career Theory

Although we constructed the whole workshop from the perspective of design thinking, the relevant theories of pedagogy and psychology should be the foundation. After all, career education is also a science, and it can't be easily swayed by whimsical ideas. Mark Savickas' Career Construction Theory is the cornerstone of Life Designing. By weaving past memories, current experiences, and future shackles into patterns that describe the theme of life, which is given personal meaning, allowing career intervention to help students build realistic meaning.

Design thinking, in the other way, provides a new direction of thinking, to help students become a positive problem seeker and solver. Through the designer's way to complete the construction of life.

The students are thinking about the design of their own life ▲

02 生命设计和制定计划有什么不同?
What is the difference between DESIGN and PLAN ?

This was the main question that had plagued me for a long time, and was initially questioned by many people: Do we finally ask the student to make a future plan? If so, designing is just one kind of planning. But after discussion and careful speculation, I tried to draw two diagrams to distinguish the differences of them.

  • The plan is to locate the anchor point for each stage, and it's a specific output.
  • But design is an iterative thinking process of insight, definition, divergence, and attempt. The output of Life Designing could be a plan sheet, a portrait of the life designer himself, or a description of the possibilities he thought he could explore and try in the future.

According to our research, many high school students had the ability in short and medium-term planning, but for career planning, it could not easily be solved by long-term planning ability. Therefore, an understanding of iterative thinking combined with focus process and divergence process is more valuable to our users.

Finally, I defined the purpose of the workshop like this:

Guide users to constantly recognize and understand themselves, discover different possibilities, and constantly explore, experience, and try.

03 怎么洞察我自己的需求?
How to get the insights of myself?

The hardest part of the design usually is defining the problems, goals, and requirements of the user. Similarly, the hardest part of life designing is knowing yourself. In product design, we often conduct user research to help define requirements, and in life design, we also use a large number of game-oriented career theory tools to help students continue to deepen their understanding of themselves, such as through their interests, values, excavation of the behavior traces.

We decide to take the past ten years of their lives as the original data, and guide them to analyze and mine these data, which is the first step in life design.How to make a valuable review and analysis of years you have lived becomes the biggest difficulty. After discussing with my design partners, I draw on the viewpoint of constructive theory: Excavate the traces of self-behavior through the way of sketching, dismantling, and reshaping the story.

You may be surprised to see a real need you never knew ▲

I was helping student with gaining insights ▲

04 生命设计,到底在设计什么?
What is the final design delivery?

When you are trying to solve a problem, you typically start with what you know about the problem: you start with the data. You need enough data so that you can understand what causes what, and what is likely to happen when something else happens. Unfortunately, when you are designing your life, you don’t have a lot of data available, especially reliable data about your future. Luckily, designers have come up with a way of sneaking up on the future through prototyping.

- < Design your Life> from Stanford University

When you try to solve a problem, you get used to analyzing by understanding the case and collecting data, but unfortunately, when you design the future, you no longer have reliable data. However the designer knows how to constantly prototype, test and optimize iteratively

As what I said above, our goal was to discover more possibilities, constantly explore, experience, and test. I believe painting is the best way to let someone return to the inner origin: While diverging the possibilities through brainwriting, the paintings are also used to guide the young students to think about the future possibilities.

Life prototype from students ▲

Simple and quick prototype - a short, profound, quick attempt in life - is the best iteration of life.

We were also providing opportunities to help them experiment with life prototypes. We encouraged students to prototyping the real experience and try: For example, when you feel that you love photography but can't afford expensive photographic equipment, you can use the mobile phone to feel the adjustment of composition, aperture, and shutter to "prototyping the experience".

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