Tech Meet-Up: Modern Day & UX Design Thinking
On the 30th of March 2023, the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and curiosity as the chair spaces kept filling up. Excitement was due to the attendees realizing they were walking into a beautiful co-working space and meeting other people who were just as excited and ready to find out what the core of the gathering was. The tech meet-up was themed “Modern Day & UX Design Thinking” and the ‘design thinking’ aspect seemed to be an unfamiliar topic to anyone who was not familiar with UX (user experience) designing as a profession but very familiar to those who practice UX designing.
There were murmurs on how applicable this would be to their own professions in Zimbabwe as the ‘modern day’ aspect of the theme did not give any certainty. Moderating the event was the director of Shanda Hub, Miss Sithabile Ndlovu and she kicked off the event by asking the attendees “Are you in it for passion for survival?”. This immediately sparked interest as the crowd was quick to speak on their own professions and motivations. The guest speaker was Mr Beyond Bechani, the head of design of Uncommon.org, and he also gave his opinion on the discussion as he warmed up the crowd on his presentation that was soon to follow.
He defined design thinking as “a problem-solving approach that prioritizes empathy, experimentation, and collaboration to develop innovative solutions to complex challenges”. Mr Bechani further explained how design thinking is a human-centered approach that focuses on understanding the needs and perspectives of the people who will be using the product or service being designed and using that understanding to inform the design process.
To address the question on the attendees’ minds on applicability, he gave examples on how design thinking could be applied to different categories. For healthcare, he described how design thinking is being used to improve patient experiences, develop new medical devices and technologies, and create more efficient healthcare delivery systems. In education, design thinking is being used to develop new teaching methodologies, design learning environments that are more engaging and effective, and create educational technologies that better meet the needs of students. In finance, it is being used to improve customer experiences, develop new financial products and services, and create more efficient and user-friendly banking systems. In manufacturing, design thinking is being used to develop more sustainable products and manufacturing processes, create better user experiences with products, and design products that are more user-centered and efficient. Lastly, in government it is being used to develop more effective public policies and programs, improve citizen engagement, and create more user-friendly and efficient public services.
During Mr Bechani’s presentation, he also gave the crowd some challenges that he had displayed for them to solve and there was a question-and-answer session to allow the attendees to contribute. After the presentation, the discussions continued as there were more topics and the hour and a half dedicated to the event seemed like five minutes.
Overall, with twenty-five people in attendance, it was a great networking session as the attendees were some tech professionals, business people, and university students. This event was a success and we will be hosting similar events more regularly focusing on different relevant topics so as to create a sustainable network of professionals in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.