Design & Design Thinking: An Introduction

What is design thinking? On the surface this is an easy question to answer but in reality the concept takes deep probing to develop a full understanding.  The term design thinking has gained considerable attention over the past decade in a variety of contexts, recognising that design is now central to innovation (Kimbell, 2012) – and is making its way into the educational sector in response to the phenomenal amount of knowledge now available to all learners.  It is seen as being a 21st Century Skill to be developed by educators and students alike. It is worth stating that what design thinking is supposed to be is not well understood (Kimbell, 2012). So as a point of reflection it is well worth listening to Tim Brown speak of design and design thinking (TedTalks, 2009). While listening to Brown’s oration try to marry his thoughts with your educational space and the problems you and your students are faced with.

Some important points:

Brown tells us that design is more about aesthetics, image and fashion. Design is about solving big problems … global warming, healthcare and amongst other things education. It is about exploring the concept of participation, which has huge implications in education – as we try to design participatory pedagogies. Thus, thought leaders in design are declaring that design is now too important to be left to designers (Brown & Katz, 2011) and that we can all be designers, students and teachers alike.

References: –

Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by design. Journal of product innovation management, 28(3), 381-383.

Kimbell, L. (2012). Rethinking design thinking: Part II. Design and Culture, 4(2), 129-148.

TedTalks (2009). Tim Brown urges designers to think big. Retrieved from

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