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Design Thinking & Problem Solving

Nguyen Than Thuy Linh

· design thinking

Readiness to scale a big project


In Saigon, I came to see the competition called “Lead the change” to meet my idol Mrs Nguyen Phi Van, an inspiring writer and teacher to me. Throughout many presentations and Q&A section, one question was repetitively asked by the jury “How do you scale your products?” Most of the participants found it struggling to have a strategic plan in order to promote their products.

Hai Yen described her ideas today passionately about scaling a program on the national scale. By the time she started her business meetings, she did not think about such a big picture as it turned out that all of her partners have big visions with big aspirations.


The current intention is to consult effective learning platform of MOOC to organize online courses for teacher training rather than spending much time inventing a new format. This is how to make use of available capital as it is not necessary for impact makers to have ownership of the online channel which can’t run away from being copied. Simultaneously, in terms of real interaction with learners, it is impossible to re-train millions of teachers for the limit of time and resource so she has harbored some ideas to make it through within the least cost!


Get ready for a new expected journey!


Sensing ground in Design thinking


I had a certain practice of design thinking when doing my social project, how to identify the problem, step into beneficiaries’ shoes to see their needs, brainstorm ideas and try different approaches. It was the time I first involved in a design thinking process but did not know this term.


How surprising it is when the man in Ministry of Education and Training in Vietnam has good intention that students must know this thinking process and apply it in life. But it is a long way ahead to provide this “process” for the every single student. And STEM actually should be a thinking process instead of knowledge or skills related to AI, IT, or Big Data. What about Society 4.0 or Mindset 4.0? How to cope with the exponential changes led by robots in the future? Human beings have a big advantage that is spirituality and can equip us to become the controllers, not the servants of robots.


Hai Yen is an expert of design thinking with 10 years teaching experience in school. She emphasized the importance of ground sensing in problem solving these days. Research methodology like qualitative or quantitative approach are likely old-fashion and impractical to really solve problems. Ground sensing can be so-called “research” in a non-academic way that problem-solvers open their eyes and mind to research other’s mindset, needs, solutions or whatever to avoid our personal biases and hypothesis. Hypothesis should be the next step of ground sensing to have an objective view on the problem, in other ways, hypothesis should be the crystallization of ground-sensing process then get started with ideating, prototyping and test.


The doors are always around me, but I haven’t found a key. (Hai Yen)


And now the universe has conspired to give the key to her. Like-minded people come to her and the upcoming strategies are more or less what SoG all envisioned last year, which is definitely impressive.

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