Workshop: Revolutionizing Design Thinking with AI

The hands-on workshop involved 20 students divided into four groups. They tested the AI interface and participated in a design thinking session.

A groundbreaking workshop was recently held at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur on March 19, 2024. This event aimed to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can augment innovation processes while minimizing digital distractions.

AI Design Thinking Buddy

The workshop, facilitated by Samir Dash, Lead Product Designer from Cisco Systems India Pvt. Ltd., showcased a unique AI software interface called the “AI design thinking buddy.” This interface provided a live demonstration for the attending students. Dr. Amar Behera, associate professor in the department of design, coordinated the event with guidance from Prof. Nachiketa Tiwari, department head.

The hands-on workshop involved 20 students divided into four groups. They tested the AI interface and participated in a design thinking session.

AI as a Team Member

Mr. Dash’s software interface takes a novel approach. It integrates AI within a normal working environment, allowing for interaction without relying on digital devices. The AI software acted as a participant in each group, contributing to the design thinking process from user discovery and ideation to prototyping. The AI’s responses were printed on paper labels and added to physical whiteboards alongside participant ideas on sticky notes.

Focus on Immersion

“We aim to utilize AI in a non-evasive manner,” Mr. Dash explained. His goal is to allow participants to fully immerse themselves in the innovation process without digital distractions. Mr. Dash is a published researcher on the use of AI in design thinking, with papers in HCI International 2023 and Futuring Design Education 2024. Dr. Amar Behera also boasts a history of innovation in areas like IoT, AR/VR, and digital product design.

Addressing Challenges in Education

This innovative approach tackles critical issues in various sectors, particularly education. Mr. Dash highlighted its potential impact in schools lacking robust digital infrastructure or skilled teachers to conduct design thinking sessions.

By integrating AI, students can engage in design thinking exercises, aligning with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020’s directive to introduce design thinking in CBSE classes 6th to 12th. The NEP 2020 envisions educators equipped to foster innovation and critical thinking among students.

Empowering Women and Businesses

The workshop’s implications extend to women’s empowerment initiatives. AI facilitators can enhance the innovation skills of girls, eliminating the need for expensive training programs in larger cities. This allows girls to innovate from their own locations and potentially launch startups.

Enterprises can also benefit significantly. AI-powered facilitators can help organizations kickstart innovation sessions and generate ideas efficiently. This streamlined process reduces training costs and fosters a culture of innovation within the company.

“With this approach, every employee can have his/her own AI innovation facilitator,” said Mr. Dash, emphasizing the significant cost reductions for companies.

A Paradigm Shift

The IIT Kanpur workshop signifies a paradigm shift in integrating AI into design thinking. It offers a promising solution to address various challenges across sectors. As the world embraces AI-driven innovation, such initiatives pave the way for a more efficient and inclusive approach to problem-solving and creativity.

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