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Jeansonne | December 13, 2017

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DTK12-Consensus building not collaborating

What if we sought consensus and not collaboration in Design Thinking?

Collaboration is not Democratic

Although people enjoy drinking the social kool-aid of collaborate, it really is a death knell to design thinking and deep learning.

Someone loses

To collaborate requires a certain level of homogenization either in values, approach or language. Collaboration is a social transaction that has economic, social, and cultural capital.   To collaborate means to negotiate and that inherently, means someone gives something up.

Collaboration is biased to the dominant culture.

The dynamic of a collaboration process is often very directed and monolinguistic. There is an inherent push to create a product, often in a defined amount of time. That means, that more time consuming processes will be dismissed in favor of more efficient and productive approaches.  “Let’s get it done!”  Even some models of DT seem to fall back to that ideology. There are some idea iterations but generally, the process of collaboration is not generative and is a linear progressive process. There is a biased toward making a beautiful product rather than a product that is designed to be awkwardly truthful. Being wrong is not embraced as being wrong doesn’t mean keep the momentum going. In collaborating, one social ideology of communication and negotiation will inevitably dominant.

Collaboration means commodification

In education, that means we reduce learning to a consumable product, and one that is even disposable. Student are coached, taught, guided, to create a product or solve a problem with the goal to gain social capital, or at least points for participating or being engaged (economic capital). The person with the biggest, best, answer wins. 

Consensus is Democratic

Maybe it is because I have some Aboriginal heritage but  Design Thinking is more and more attractive.

but it takes time to live with the process of DT

In Design Thinking, participants engage in consensus building. In a knowledge-building asynchronous communities that strive for harmony within the group,  consensus is the key.

Consensus takes time.  To proceed through a consensus building endeavor, we first  need to agree define the context or situation before we define the problem.  Rarely is a situation a loosely connected series of facts. Time is needed to sit with the stories, the emotions, history, reasons, culture and ideology. In order to achieve consensus we must empathize and sympathize.. seeking to understand before we begin to KNOW.   Time is needed to reflect on the meaning and what it means to  individuals and their relationship with the community of consensus.

Consensus is Action Oriented

In Design Thinking, learning is not a noun or thing to be consumed but a process to live with.When seek to build consensus we seek to understand why does it matter and why the person matters and why we matter in relationship.  The ‘self’ is created in terms of how we respond to the problems and the community of inquiry. The self-in-relation. 

Builds an identity of responsibility for understanding

In design thinking, students are not in a role where they have to “give the right answer” because the problems are wicked, messy and ill defined. In collaborative groups, “Individuals assume a role as opposed to a specific identity” (Jeansonne, 2011) In DT, their identity as a student shifts because the teacher is no longer the authoritarian gatekeeper of “Yes, gold star for you” mantras.  Through deep reflection, the role of a student changes and the accountability for learning extends beyond the teacher and the student.

In DT, the need for consensus means adding to an identity of responsibility for understanding rather than take on a role for learning.

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