Creative Problem Solving

I am really excited to have joined Wikispaces as Director of User Experience Design. As a former teacher, I am thrilled to be back in the Ed-Tech world to help teachers communicate and work with their students.

I am a product and experience designer from Chile, based out of San Francisco. I come from the Learning, Design & Technology Masters Program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education and from the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (aka dschool) at Stanford, where I focused on designing new approaches for cross-generational collaborative communication platforms. My previous work includes communication & storytelling Apps and educational interactive installations. Formerly, I taught interactive design to children of all ages and worked in schools and non-profit organizations to help them create and implement arts-based and design thinking curricula which celebrated a collaborative spirit and incorporated new media technology. My teaching philosophy was about developing a strong creative process towards an interdisciplinary art practice and my teaching style inspired passion for lifelong learning by encouraging my students to incorporate real life experiences in their work.

Something that I really care about is to inspire learners of all ages to become design thinkers. Design thinking is a methodology for creative problem solving. You can use it to inform your own teaching practice, or you can teach it to your students as a framework for real-world projects. The design thinking process came out of IDEO and its founder David Kelley and the Institute of design at Stanford. As a style of thinking, Design thinking has come to be defined as combining empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality in analyzing and fitting various solutions to the problem context.

The main steps of the process, as describe on are:



  • Empathy: Design thinking is a user-centered design process, and the empathy that comes from observing users enables design thinkers to uncover deep and meaningful needs (both overt & latent). Empathy, by definition, is the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.
  • Define: The Define mode is seen as a ‘narrowing’ part of the process. After collecting volumes of user information, it is time to distill down to one specific user group, their need and the insight behind that need so as to unify and inspire a team. The goal of this mode is to come up with at least one actionable problem statement (often referred to as Point of View (POV)) that focuses on the insights that you uncovered from real users.
  • Ideate: Ideation is the process of idea generation. Mentally it represents a process of “going wide” in terms of concepts and outcomes. Ideation provides the fuel for building prototypes and driving innovative solutions.
  • Prototype: The act of prototyping implies “building”, testing, and iterating and is, itself, both a flaring and a narrowing process. The flaring represents the proliferation of low-resolution prototypes developed as different aspects of the prototype are evaluated and the narrowing represents the refinement of the lower resolution models into increasingly complex and resolved models.
  • Test: The test mode is another iterative mode in which we place our low-resolution artifacts in the appropriate context of the user’s life. In regards to a team’s solution, we should always prototype as if we know we’re right, but test as if we know we’re wrong—testing is the chance to refine our solutions and make them better.

Learning the design thinking process really impacted my work. I constantly apply the design thinking process in my own work and I like to help others learn the process. 

I look forward to helping Wikispaces in our mission to help teachers help students and to seeing the amazing work that you all do using our tools. I am excited about how creative and social technologies can be applied to support learning, understanding that each new tool has the potential to radically change the way people learn and teach. I’d love to learn more about the Wikispaces community and the work that you are doing, if you are interested in sharing your experiences please kindly complete this quick survey:

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  1. Hannah Fairbanks
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I enjoy reading about the new means and methods used to teach children. It all makes sense with English speaking students that have all the tools. How do you suggest that we get ELL students into this form of learning?

  2. Lennart Rolandsson
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    Are there any specific reresearch references you would suggest? Literature that have problematized this approach

  3. shaukat mulla
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I teach a 3rd year capstone course at George Brown College where the students select their own projects and mostly they are innovative in nature. So I use a similar gating process that was developed at McGill university. I like the use of the word “empathise” in the first phase because really it is about developing a product or service that meets the customer need.
    The other thing two things that I emphasise on are Industry research and documentation.
    The later can also be useful for Intellectual property rights.

  4. Paul Walker
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Daniela,
    This looks good. Thanks for sharing what you are passionate about. I intuit that this may be very helpful. I am posting it for my students and myself. Have you found it helpful in everyday life? If so, can you give us an example or two?

  5. Daniela Steinsapir
    Posted August 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I recommend checking and reaching out to Stanford’s Research in Education & Design. Their publications are free for download, they are listed here:

  6. Daniela Steinsapir
    Posted August 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I recommend visiting the Institute of Design at Stanford K12 blog and their wiki. They have many resources and examples listed in those sites. Link: Ideo has also a site with learning curriculum examples and use cases. Link: I feel wikis is a great tool to have students work on real world projects where students can reach out to a specific audience and get feedback very easily. Keep us posted!

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