Design Process

Design Thinking is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result. It is the essential ability to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and drive [project] success.

Unlike analytical thinking, design thinking is a creative process based around the “building up” of ideas. There are no judgments early on in design thinking.

This eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation in the ideation and prototype phases. Outside the box thinking is encouraged in these earlier processes since this can often lead to creative solutions.

[Definition courtesy of this Wikipedia link]

Process of Design Thinking

There are various schools, organizations and companies that specialize in design thinking.  While each may have its own language, the process essentially contains the following stages:

  • Define the problem
  • Research the problem’s context and previous efforts
  • Ideate/Brainstorm without disregarding ideas
  • (Rapid) Prototype concepts and models
  • Choose a particular solution to develop
  • Implement the solution
  • Test/Learn by getting user feedback and collecting data

Note: The process is not meant to be linear nor completed like a checklist.  Steps can be repeated throughout the process, allowing tremendous flexibility for student teams to truly test their thinking.

Additional Explanations for Design Thinking




Schools / Programs / Initiatives

Purely for Fun (Yet Very Useful)

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