Maria Staynova

Who am I

Master in: design thinking, architectural design, visual thinking

Focus on: training design and delivery, customer research, brainstorming, visual thinking

Number of trainings: > 50

Number of sprints: > 5

Industries: architecture, interior design, healthcare, education

I am Maria. I have always been really good in systemizing information. This helped me a lot in my architectural studies, as I was never afraid to tackle a huge pile of books on some subject.

In my work, or teamwork to be precise, I learned to listen - to be tolerant and patient, to be interested in the ideas of others, And to try and build off of those ideas with my own knowledge. This helped me a lot in my architectural projects. I experienced first-hand that only people who trust each other and build off of each other’s ideas can deliver amazing designs.

My love towards teamwork and my interest in people’s interactions naturally lead me to design thinking.

My three most important professional projects

Creating a pupils-first Center for Natural Sciences and Entrepreneurship at 1st School “Nikola Vaptsarov" in Berkovitsa, Bulgaria.

Creating a Visual Thinking module for teachers for the DICE (Developing Innovation and Creativity in Education) European project.

Delivering a design thinking facilitator’s training program in Alaska, as we reached a whole new level here - training future facilitators.

My biggest failure and lessons learned

During a design workshop I was taught an important lesson from something very small. We were doing a workshop with students from Africa and decided to warm-up with a fun activity, which enables teamwork. The activity proposed included people holding hands and getting tangled in a big knot. However, what we hadn’t realized before-hand was that this type of physical contact was inappropriate in their culture. We laughed about it and moved on, but I definitely learned my lesson.

The lesson learned - “Do not assume culture and do not impose culture.”

On Sunday I get up early to...

I usually don't, but if I do, it has to be for skiing, for a trip to the seaside or or to simply have breakfast and head right back to bed.

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