Drawing on several years as an instructor in Stanford’s Design Program and sdchool, I facilitate introductory design thinking experiences ranging from 1 hour to multiple days. Regardless of length, it is important to tailor each training to the specific needs and interests of each group, and to apply the process to real and relevant challenges.
Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem solving. Although its origins are in product design, design thinking can be effectively applied to services, experiences, and even our own lives and education. Design thinking is especially well-suited to complex, undefined, unique, and interconnected challenges (often referred to as wicked problems).
Although it is often described as a process, design thinking shouldn’t be understood as a step-by-step approach. Rather, it is a number of phases employed iteratively alongside a set of mindsets, all of which combine to help us identify unmet needs, increase creative confidence, and generate new ideas and prototypes.
This can all sound a bit jargony out of context! Like nearly everything, the best way to understand design thinking is through experience, and in the context of real challenges.
For a more detailed overview of design thinking, check out IDEO U and the Stanford dschool’s online resources. If you are interested in an interactive and applied introduction to design thinking please reach out to me via email.