According to Creativity at Work, design thinking is “methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients … design thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be …”
What design thinking is not, however, is the way that something looks. It goes much deeper than surface appearance, to instead focus on optimizing the inner workings. To create something new that works better – be it product or process.
Design Thinking for Teachers
The Harvard Graduate School of Education defines five steps to design thinking: (1) Discover, (2) Interpret, (3) Ideate, (4) Prototype, and (5) Test. The goal is to get students interested in research and data gathering, and engaged in experimentation to turn that information into actionable solutions.
Employing these steps as an educator can help to facilitate collaboration, creative thinking, curiosity, and problem-solving – both in and out of the classroom. Once you become comfortable with design thinking at the activity level, you can apply the same process to larger projects and entire courses.
Design Thinking for Students
According to the World Economic Forum, the skills for success are changing. The group’s report, The Future of Jobs, speaks to a new industrial revolution where concepts and opportunities are converging in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, advanced materials, genetics, and biotechnology.
By 2020, the top three most coveted skills in global business and industry will be (1) complex problem solving, (2) critical thinking, and (3) creativity. Introducing design thinking in high school (or sooner) can prepare students for opportunities to make a difference in the real world – as innovators and creators of solutions and prototypes for emerging interests and needs.