Design Thinking

One way to come up with a solution to a problem you face is to go through the process of “Design Thinking.”  Many well-known companies, like IDEO, and universities, like Stanford’s D-School, use this process to help problem solve.  Try it yourself!



In the first phase – Understanding – you should dive in and learn everything you can about the problem.  Talk to your friends, teachers, and family members.  Research online.  Develop as much . They talk to experts and conduct research.  Become an expert on the problem!

Observing comes closely after understanding.  During this step you’re watching how people deal with the problem in various ways.  Feel free to ask people their thought process on solving the problem.

During the Define part of the process, you’ll actually start seeing the need that people have with regards to the problem.  You’re bringing together the first two steps so you’re watching the use with the problem, understanding the need, and starting to get some ideas.  It can be phrased like this: user + need + insight = how to make changes

This is the fun part when you get to start brainstorming like crazy.  In brainstorming, no idea is a bad one.  Write everything down!  No ideas are tossed out during this phase.  Be as creative as possible and come up with as many ideas as possible.  Be a dreamer and risk taker during this part.


Let’s build!  Here you’d going to take some of your ideas and start making version of them.  Use duct tape, cardboard, playing cards, pipe cleaner, hot glue, whatever you need!  You want to convey your idea to see if might just be possible.

Now is there part where you throw your idea out to people and get feedback.  You’re testing whether it might work, whether people are interested, whether it really solves the problem.  Here’s some more guidance on how to actually test your idea.

Sometimes your prototype might not get great feedback and you “fail.”  But don’t worry!  Remember all those ideas you came up with during the Ideate phase?  Go back to one of them and try again.  When you test your idea, be sure that you’re having people figure out if it will work to solve their problems.  The ideas you want to move forward with will help solve problems!

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