Problem solving with a new lens

As the respected book designer Chip Kidd stated, “The best solution can usually be found in the best definition of the problem itself”. In a world full of books, how do you innovate to appeal to a new audience?

You reframe the challenge through a new lens

For over a year, we have been forward in our vision of problem solving at ACT Group. We have adopted new design principles and frameworks and been inspired by ideas first-hand from industry professionals, workers and young people alike to allow us greater and more diverse perspectives. We have ventured into the exciting unknown, exploring solutions to even the biggest challenges the sector presents us.

All this has been done through drawing on collective years of expertise and knowledge, along with a Design Thinking framework. The term “Design Thinking” was first coined in the 90s when design firms turned their attention to creating outcomes for the “end user” – the person who would be affected as the end result. This was revolutionary at a time when the rest of the creative world were using big budgets to please and prioritise the clients who created the brief.

At ACT Group, we adopted the concept of Design Thinking, beginning to look at what will benefit the young person directly, using new and innovative ways to spark the healing process.

During this time, we have run multiple workshops that adhere to a strong framework developed by the Silicon Valley firm Future. Future have been using this workshop process for problem solving for years in both corporate and not-for-profit environments, creating ingenious solutions in both these worlds. The foundation of this process is the belief that everyone is born ingenious; people just need the framework and environment to harness this creativity.

We build on these practices by reframing the challenge early on in the process; and by doing this, we get all participants to engage in the challenge more personally. This helps find the best definition of the challenge, and allows participants to examine the challenge on a deeper level. One of the workshops, for example, began with the question, ‘How might we provide a healing and learning experience for children and young people living in residential care?’ This evolved quickly into, “How might we provide a safe and welcoming experience for children and young people so that they create a sense of belonging and thrive within themselves and the community?”.

When we look at the home I forever hear the immortal voice of Darryl Kerrigan:

“A man’s home is his castle.” This rings true when we look at out-of-home-care – when we start to shift the challenge from providing a roof over a young person’s head as simply shelter, to shifting the thinking from what a house is to what a house could forever represent: a place to feel safe, supported, to heal and to grow.


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