Design Thinking is a process that our students use to help them to look at and solve problems. We believe that design thinking skills develop students’ mindset to that of a creator, not a consumer. These skills can be used to think of a business idea, innovate a product or service, to develop a business plan, and to find ways to raise capital.
Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that students use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. Involving five phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test—it is most useful to tackle problems that are ill-defined or unknown. Design thinking at schools can manifest when students are encouraged to research on real world problems and develop working prototypes of the solutions proposed, using a variety of tools such as 3D printing, laser-cutting, wearable tech, etc.
The tools that enable students to engage authentically with the design process depend on the type of prototyping that is required. Students will use a range of materials based on their knowledge and skills and the needs for the project. This may range from paper, and cardboard, to clay, wood, plastic. And tools may range from pencils, pens, and scissors to a hand drill, 3D printers, arduino, and robotics. Students learn a range of materials and tools and learn the best choice for the prototype that they are creating.