Design Thinking

Design, at its simplest, is about being intentional about the things we do and creating impact in the world.

You may have heard about Design Thinking but are still wondering what it really is. One post I read describes it simply as “a repeatable process for innovative problem solving”. This is another really good article that explains a little more about it. It breaks down the ‘steps’ of design thinking which could be present in any of our classrooms:

  1. Make a conscious effort to study an everyday activity: what do you do and why do you do it?
  2. Use these sharpened observation skills to come up with insights about your behavior.
  3. Armed with information, start designing solutions.

It really is that easy!

Here is a sample from the book “Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming”. This is a book I want to read more of in order to become better at facilitating creative, collaborative thinking and a deeper look into problem solving through design thinking.

Once you are ready, here are some Design Thinking ‘mindsets’ as prepared by the D.School at Stanford to get your head in the DT game:


3 thoughts on “Design Thinking”

  1. Often we think of Design Thinking as ‘mechanistic’ – making something. In his TED talk, Rory Sutherland, gives examples where Design Thinking can be psychological. For example, Britain spent 6 million pounds building the Eurostar which decreased the traveling time between London and Paris by 40 minutes. For only 0.01 percent of this money, they could have installed free Internet on the train which would have improved the enjoymet and usefulness far more. Korea and China have put countdowns on their red traffic lights. Knowing how long one has to wait at a red light has decreased traffic accidents.
    In our world of constant production and consumerism, I think physiological problem solving is an important aspect of Design Thinking.
    See Sutherland’s TED talk here:

    1. Exactly! You have described what is most interesting about this (to me anyway!). Rather than just making something or buying something to satisfy an immediate need, what are the long term costs/benefits? We are going through this now as we sit in an (almost) empty apartment in Starnburg with many tabs open to the IKEA website as we try and figure out what to buy that not only meets our needs but maximizes our space, is kind on our budget, will be appealing to others should we wish to sell when we move on, is aesthetically pleasing. We both agree we may have “jumped the gun” on some of our purchases in the US so we are definitely taking it slower this time.
      Thanks for the TED talk – I will check it out.
      PS…it feels “wrong” to be living in Germany without you 🙂

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