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  • Shaqualyn Shedrick

What is a Problem Solving Innovator?

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Problem solving innovators are Human-centered designers who believe there is a solution to every problem. In trial and error, you must acclimate to the 7 mindsets of The Field Guide: Empathy, Optimism, Iteration, Creative Confidence, Making, Embracing, Ambiguity, and Learning from failure. Trusting the process is very important to the start-up of any innovation. Using the field guide as a reference you will go through three very important phases:

1. Inspiration -learning people through observation and hearing their hopes and desires.

2. Ideation- Making sense of everything you hear. Generating new ideas and identifying opportunities for design.

3. Implementation. Bringing your solution to life! Finding ways to bring your idea to the market and maximize impact in the world.


Experiencing these three phases will help you build deep empathy with the communities and individuals you are designing for. Let’s take a look at the seven mindsets you will need to adapt in the process:


1. CREATIVE CONFIDENCE, TRUST your intuition and pursue the solutions that are still missing answers.

2. MAKE, this enforces the physical aspect of diverging and converging through the creation of products. As the developer, you will gain comfort in bringing their ideas to reality and sharing it.

3. LEARNING FROM FAILURE, the cousin of humility. This mindset serves as a source of motivation despite any time you may have wanted to quit. “Dust yourself off and try again” –Aaliyah 2001

4. EMPATHY, this allows you to connect with different people and understand their lives to help solve problems from their perspectives.

5. EMBRACE AMBIGUITY, there will ALWAYS be more ideas! Feel free to venture out and explore the many possibilities to impact the community.

6. OPTIMISM, remain hopeful and positive through your transition. Optimism creates an of peace on the road to innovation.

7. ITERATION, PACE YOURSELF!


Developing the seven mindsets of being a human-centered designer allows room for growth within your business. With an advocacy background in mentorship and supportive attitude for black mentors, I instantly connect to the mindsets of iteration, learning from failure, empathy, and optimism.


Through current struggles of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and micromanaging others, I, unfortunately, created a habit of “overdoing it” which led to mental breakdowns and exhaustion- don’t let this be you! Learn to pace yourself and innovate in moderation. What’s the rush?! Having the mindset of iteration will welcome relief in the draft of your ideas. Rebuilding phases will come time and time again. If I were you, I would create an outline of ideas to revisit and revamp once a day until you’re able to execute your plan entirely.


Learning from Failure, who doesn’t love this part of the journey?! I have failed at sustaining the attention of my audience several times! Conversations die very fast with the younger generation. This mindset serves as a source of motivation despite any time you may have wanted to quit. My biggest competition is the attention standing between a student and their phone. I just can’t win! I allow this mindset to develop new ideas and form ways of interaction amongst the group to generate interest.


An empathetic spirit takes you a long way in the world of business! People want to be understood. As a mentor, you are faced with unfamiliar and encounter people with a much different path of life than you. Empathy forces you to look beyond your normal response and defense mechanisms. Both of my parents are graduates of high school and have college degrees with a background in Criminal Justice and Nursing. My scholastic abilities differ from a teenager whose parents dropped out of high school and never continued education to obtain a GED. Having an empathetic spirit allowed me to connect with that student on a level I never dreamed of. I used this mindset to listen to my student and understand HOW she wanted my help as her mentor.


Lastly, being optimistic! This mindset is the most important as it sets the tone for an atmosphere of peace. Encourage yourself in every way possible! Positive affirmations, accountability partners, role models, mentors, spiritual counselors, bible study, massages, literally anything or anyone you can think of to help keep you grounded. I apply this mindset to my everyday life as it is important to take care of yourself first and your business second.

I am happy to share more stories with you on this topic. Be on the lookout for more good reads. Remember, human-centered designers, believe there is a solution to every problem. In trial and error, you must acclimate to the 7 mindsets of The Field Guide: Empathy, Optimism, Iteration, Creative Confidence, Making, Embracing, Ambiguity, and Learning from failure. Trust your process! :)

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I'M WORTH IT!!!!

Students at Rickards high school gather inside a classroom with their mentor to write down the things they love about themselves the most and say them aloud. At the end of their mentoring session, the girls exchanged gifts for their accountability partner on Valentine's Day.

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