What we are very used to doing, for example in education, is to come up with solutions when we are asked a question. Because that's how it works, isn't it? There is a problem and it needs to be fixed. This is also how we work within the EnschedeLAB: we collect issues, turn them into 'challenges' and ask students to come up with solutions. Often with a design or an investigation, and recommendations for a follow-up.
Couldn't we turn that around?
Especially in the time when we want to use the city even more as a rich learning environment, design challenge-based learning and work on 'real world problems', we need even more practical questions. The joke is that so many of those questions are hidden in the solutions we've already discovered. At least that became clear when we were recently asked to introduce a 'challenge' at the start of a new Honors program. Because there was little time, it seemed more convenient to ask the 75 students involved a different question.
Turn a solution into a new problem.
Their assignment was to look at existing solutions for challenges that we did before - as if they were the challenge partner - and to 'turn' these into new questions that provide deepening, broadening or realization. As a result, six of our previous solution directions are now 'framed' again as new issues to work on. We will soon be placing them here on the site to start up new 'challenges'.
A flywheel for questions.
Apparently, in this way, as EnschedeLAB but also as a collective of students, we can not only act as a flywheel for new solutions, but also for new questions. And: can it be worthwhile not to present students with problems, but solutions - and to ask them to turn them around? That requires empathy, analysis, imagination and the lightning-fast understanding of a solution and thinking it through: reflecting ahead, and in this way launching new challenges.