Using Design Thinking for problem-solving and innovating

By Jude Toyat

To spread the basics of Design Thinking to as many people as possible, especially among educators and students, Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS) organised a two-day boot camp on the basics of Design Thinking and its application.

According to exco member of MINDS, Stephen Poon, who is also a lecturer at The Design School in Taylor’s University, the boot camp is not merely about designing, but more about making participants understand design.


Edwin delivering his talk to participants of the boot camp (3)

Edwin delivering his talk to participants of the boot camp.


“Design thinking is not a new thing here although not much exposure is given to it. It is a process of 50% analytic thinking and another 50% of intuitive thinking, hence in this boot camp, we are emphasising on both thinking skills among participants to allow them to work not only creatively but also to understand the logical process of it,” Poon said.

Held on August 16 and 17, most of the 48 participants were teachers from various schools around Sarawak including SJK Chung Hua Miri, SMJK Tung Hua Sibu, SJK Chung Hua Batu 15, SMK Kampung Nangka, SJK Chung Hua Kim Choo Seng, SMK Kuching High, SMK Lake Bau, SJK Chung Hua Sejijak, SJK San Ming Sarikei, SJK Chung Hua Sungai Tapang Hilir, SJK Chung Hua Bau, SJK Chung Hua Pangkal Baru, SMK Batu Lintang, SMK Sri Matang Padawan and SMK Tun Abdul Razak.

It is hoped that after the camp, these teachers will go back to their respective schools and be able to train their students as well as prepare them to showcase their creative talents in several creative and innovative exhibitions and competitions.

This is the first boot camp organised by MINDS. Its sessions engage participants in the holistic approach of the design thinking process to help them in developing a designer’s mind: one that sees problems and issues always as a design problem.

Participants were formed into teams, and used the process of design thinking to address a contemporary issue surrounding education.

Poon also added that, “During this boot camp, we insert lots of knowledge for participants that they may not be aware of, and allow them to understand more about the process on how to become a good inventor through their social innovative work.”

Poon commented that the response from participants has been very optimistic so far, so The Borneo Post SEEDS took the opportunity to interview some of the participants during the boot camp on August 17.

According to Catherine Shoon who teaches at SJK Chung Hua Batu 15, the boot camp had provided her new knowledge and going through it was rather a new experience for her.


Catherine Shoon

Catherine Shoon

“I have learned lots of knowledge on technologies. Initially, I thought it would be boring but as a matter of fact it was not what I expected. The facilitators, Edwin and Stephen are very professional as they shared their knowledge with interesting presentations as well as providing us with sufficient exercises and assignments.”

She also added that once she goes back to her school she will share the knowledge with her students, especially those in the Inventors Club and enroll them in many invention competitions thereafter.

Meanwhile, for Mohd Azrai Zain Ariffin, a Form 4 student from SMK Batu Lintang, designing has always been his passion and the boot camp really helped strengthen his resolve.


Mohd Azrai Zain Ariffin

Mohd Azrai Zain Ariffin

“In terms of design thinking, this camp helped me think on what I wanted to do all this time as my interest lies in innovation. I have always been interested in creating and innovating, and from here, it helps me to think in a wider perspective, especially on ways to generate ideas,” Azrai said.

Azrai who has participated in several science competitions also hopes that he will be able to showcase his creative work during the International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition (ITEX) organized by MINDS next year.



For lead facilitator, Dr Edwin Chung, Associate Professor from School of Engineering at Taylor’s University, the boot camp seems to have hit its main objective.

“This all started when I first worked with Intel years ago where I realised the value of having design thinking among the community. Then later on, when I became a lecturer in Taylor’s University, Stephen, also a committee member for MINDS and my colleague, realised my innovative work and he quickly proposed the idea of having this boot camp.

“I want to give back to society the technique and knowledge that I have and found after years of working, locally and overseas. It is something that I hope I can teach the people and allow them to be more creative and innovative,” Chung added.


Dr Edwin Chung

Dr Edwin Chung

Although there is a high chance the participants are not really familiar with the contents of the boot camp, Chung agreed that it was best to shock them by showing and exposing them to new way of doing and seeing things to open up their minds, be able to apply it and eventually grow from it to become a knowledgeable innovator for society’s benefit.

“The way I describe to people about innovation is, it is not a mysterious thing, it is not thing you are born or not born with, it is more like kungfu that you can learn. When people learn, they will practice and eventually become good in it, allowing them to actually invent.”

Founded in 1986, the Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS) is the largest body in Malaysia representing individuals, universities and companies who pursue excellence in invention, creativity, innovation, research and development, and industrial design.

MINDS is responsible for promoting high standards of invention and design, fostering professionalism and encouraging continuing professional development amongst its members.

Their main activities include International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition (ITEX), Intellectual Property and Innovation Conference (IPI), MINDS Invention to International Inventors (MIII), Malaysian Young Inventors Competition/Exhibition (MYIC/E), MINDS Invention Centres of Excellence (MICE), Global Malaysian Education Programme (GMEP) International Exhibitions, as well as series of seminars and invention workshops.

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