I am so happy to reblog this article,

Design Thinking in Education: Empathy, Challenge, Discovery, and Sharing

by Susie WiseDirector of Stanford’s d.School K12Lab via Edutopia.  My sincere appreciation and gratitude for sharing my work with DEEP design thinking and shout out to #DTK12chat community (24/7 twitter convos of educators around the world + design thinking. Plus official chat on Wednesday’s at 9pm EST).

I have had a few of thoughts float through my head since reading Susie’s article.

1st, I love the attention and focus Edutopia has put forth with design thinking in the K12 Arena.   Not only does there seem to be a plethora of articles, blog posts, and mentions of DT within Edutopia,  I find it remarkable how educators are being utilized to share their craft, experiences, and insights of how design thinking is impacting the classroom and their students’ learning.  Well done Edutopia!

2nd, I love that Susie talked about “Developing your Practice” and she started it off with Empathy.   If you are a follower of DEEP design thinking or have had any interactions with me on twitter (#dtk12chat especially), you are well aware of how I place extreme value and distinction of DT above other methos around this idea of empathy.   As Kim Saxe & Leonard Medlock have shared with me, you can’t call it design thinking if you don’t have Users (people to design for) + Empathy.  I am so cool with designing toothpick bridges, radical new toothbrushes, or even a new way to wait in line at airport security. Yet, if these designs stem from self, teacher direction, or even just as a challenge call it creating, making, doing, STEM design, etc.  It becomes a design thinking challenge when we start with others and as a designer we try to truly understand their needs before ever getting close to identifying the problem or even the solution.

I was asked recently, “Why design thinking?” For a blog post as well as a talk I am giving this summer @ #EDOS, I will keep this thought brief.   I say reframe this question… “Why Empathy?”  If we start with empathy in our own practice of learning and teaching, imagine the impact and model we will have on our students. Again more on this later…

My 3rd thought after reading Susie’s article on Edutopia, is how wonderful it is that design thinking is becoming “mainstream.”  I am serious about this statement… About three years ago, I was at Educon and I kept hearing that DT was just a catchy buzzword that everyone is using… My position then and still holds true today, design thinking is a methodology and a mindset, a human-centered approach to learning, creating, and being through empathy.  How it is applied by others will create its depth and roots in education. The reason it seems so buzzy is people are labeling everything “design thinking.”  And this goes back to my 2nd thought, without Users (people) + empathy it is not design thinking and that is ok. Design is the umbrella and DT is just one of many approaches we have to apply in education and life.  What a wonderful world is it to have and with DT start with empathy.