Design Research, Facilitation, and Futures

Design Thinking

Design thinking has much to offer teams who genuinely want to design products and services that fulfill real needs, who believe that title and pay scale does not determine the value of creative input, and who recognize that "thinking" and "doing" are inseparable.

Most places that teach design thinking focus on the same methodology (research, synthesis, ideation, prototyping) and the same mindsets (empathy, collaboration, testing). I cover all that, but I also focus my curriculum around the original questions that design theorists were asking when design thinking came about: What, if anything, makes designers unique? Does one need to be a designer in order to design? How can we design with as opposed to design for? We'll also consider questions that seem to become more pressing every day: How do we design responsibly? How do we design in a way that is bio-centric, as opposed to simply human-centric (or in a way that is not centric at all)? How do we decrease the likelihood that our designs will be used for destructive purposes?

This workshop can be anywhere from 1 to 5 days in duration. We'll cover things like:

  • the history of design thinking and how it is practiced today

  • design theory and mindsets

  • understanding people through an ethnographic research lens

  • making sense of research findings and properly framing a problem/opportunity

  • idea generation and development

  • gathering feedback on ideas

  • understanding unintended consequences of design decisions

  • how to design in an ecological responsible way

You can expect to spend about 70% of the workshop time on small group or individual activities, 15% on lecture and full room discussion, and 15% on small group discussion and individual reflection.