You have a pretty good understanding of what design thinking is…  there are definitions galore (that’s a good thing):

  • “….design thinking converts need into demand” Peter Drucker

  • “Design Thinking is a creative process of thinking backwards from people…” Pilar Saura

  • “Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity” Tim Brown

  • “design thinking means thinking as a designer would, which is about as circular as a definition can be.” Roger Martin

  • “Design Thinking is a human-centered process for creating solutions to the problems around us, rooted in the methods….used to develop new solutions – based on an empathetic understanding of human (user) experience – that create new opportunities for innovation, growth, and fulfilling human needs.” Greg Bamford
  • “design thinking is human-centered problem solving with an emphasis on collaboration, creativity, and empathy. The key to this process is empathizing with the user’s needs to solve a problem or fill the need.” Mary Cantwell 🙂

You have a good idea as to what process you might follow…  Here are just two of MANY DT processes:

d. Schools DT Process

DEEP DT Process ( shameless plug)


So the question is Now What? What do I do? Do I just apply design thinking to everything?  Well, no not at first (and most likely not to everything all the time) but start somewhere.  In a previous post, I focused on the Discover mode of the DEEP design thinking process: My design topic is selected, Now What? 

I would like to expand on this idea of starting somewhere?  Start small or go big! I dare ya 🙂  I utilize many different resources to help me infuse the different methods of design thinking, visible thinking, creative thinking, collaborative exercises, improv, etc to help expand my students thinking yet also provide them a variety of ways to do the same thing.

The following are some links to sites I routinely access:

Learn Improv

PZ Visible Thinking Routines

d.School K12 Wiki

d.School Bootcamp Bootleg-  METHODS


Quark Cards: Building Creative Classrooms

These methods (even though some are not specifically design for DT which is a good thing) can be used in a singular manner to accomplish tasks, learning approaches, introduce concepts, bridge/connect learning outcomes, etc inside the classroom.  Yet, these methods are also utilized full scale in DEEP design thinking challenges.  The modes of Discover, Empathize, Experiment, & Produce are the stages/phases of where the designers find themselves during the design thinking process.  The methods are the techniques, exercises, points in which designers utilize to draw out the needs of their users and arrive closer to a more human-centered solution.  Below is an image of the “GoTo” Modes & Methods of DEEP design thinking.


I guess the simple answer to Now What? What do I do? Do I just apply design thinking to everything?  is No, just start somewhere and don’t feel you have to apply “design thinking” to everything.  Incorporate the methods available in your instruction and student learning.  These methods will enrich, inspire, and deepen everyone’s learning.  As you become more comfortable with this so-called “out of the box” teaching, go for a full scale DEEP dt challenge.  Discover a topic.  Empathize with users. Experiment with your HMW… Produce a solution after collecting feedback applying it to your solution.   Design thinking is design thinking when you have People (users) & Empathy (needs).