Wallet design game is a classic game, which is more suitable for short time (one hour to 1.5 hours) through hands-on exercises to experience design thinking, first used by D.School and continually improved and supplemented by the collaborators.


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The instructors makes a brief explanation for the students before the game so that they have a preliminary understanding of design thinking. The game starts, students are asked to complete a sketch design of an ideal wallet on stencil paper prepared in advance in a few minutes under the guidance of instructors. (Note: the execution of this game will be better if there are two instructors cooperating with each other)

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The students are excited and enjoy the game most at this time, and they cannot wait to show their designs as soon as the are done. After the happy and brief share, the instructors announced that they have just completed a problem-centered solution. And the next thing is to use a people-centered way during the rest of the practice. Students are divided into pairs and begin observation with asking his partner questions, such as usage of the wallet, the living habits of his partner, and they note down the key information. Next, students need to think about which of these information is the most important and relevant to their partner. And then students do a new round of further interview with their partner using depth questions such as repeating “why”. During this process, the instructors need to control time and keep reminding and, more importantly, sometimes guiding students to learn empathy and try to have some divergent thinking by staying out of the wallet itself.

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The next part is the most important and most difficult step for students. They need to think hard about what are the purposes of his partner, their expectations and goals, hopes in the context of using wallet. And they also need to consider the reasons behind, which is usually hidden behind the obvious, and finally put it in the form of verbs, and that’s POV. During this part, the instructors must observe the students and point out the problems and give them timely support and help if necessary. The instructors can also explain with one or two examples. Again, don’t forget the time control!

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In the next few steps, students mainly experience repetition and iteration to get solutions gradually. First of all, students should come up with as much as ideas to meet the partner’s need and try to use drawings to show (use words only when needed to explain the details). The point is on the number of ideas, and also students not constrained in the wallet itself. Think outside the box and focus on all the solutions in his daily life. Then show these ideas all to the partner and obverse the reaction and the mood to judge whether they like it, which may contain a new discovery. After the communication, students need design again and draw the sketch more clearly and in more details, especially highlight the bright spot and the core functionality. During this part, instructors can encourage students and remind them to make sure his partner understand the solution they present, which needs interaction and feedback, besides reminding the time and the alternating and rotation.

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Final part is realizing the ideas by using all available materials. Students also need focus on improving their core solution and they can overthrow the previous design an design all over again if necessary (if only time allows!). This process will continue until the both students are all satisfied as long as the time is up. But remember one thing, the final solution must be that it can be experienced by the partner directly and physically. The instructors can ask the students show their results and can also choose some distinctive design to let everybody feedback, or choose a random student to show their design and ask others to feedback. Note: pay attention to the time and mind the enthusiasm and participation among the members.

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Conclusion: At the end of the game, the instructors can ask students about what they learned about design thinking knowledge from the game, such as people centrism, deep interaction and feedback, sketch drawing, prototyping and iteration etc. It is also worth pointed out that the actual content of the processes and steps can be flexible according to the actual situation (such as the specific condition of space, time, participants), the important thing is that the design thinking game should be executed in happy, relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.


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