Page 8 - 2022_Jour_89-1
P. 8

Design Thinking: Developing Innovative

                        Solutions to Make a Difference

                                               By Amie Cieminski

          Design thinking is a structured approach to generating innovative solutions to challenges within
          organizations. Design thinking can help leaders, teachers, and students devise creative, user-
          based solutions to complex problems. In this article, the author explains the phases of design
          thinking and then describes how she used Liberatory Design Thinking as a pedagogy in an
          educational leadership preparation program. The author designed a unit to help aspiring school
          leaders consider strategies for leading schools in which more equitable outcomes might be

                                 esign  thinking  is  a  collaborative  and  iterative  process  in  which  the  designers
                             D“seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an
                             attempt to identify alternative strategies” (Design Interaction Foundation, n.d.). Design
                             thinking has been used in private companies, K–12 classrooms and schools, higher
                             educational  institutions,  and  community  organizations  to  devise  creative,  human-
                             centered solutions to complex problems. In classrooms, design thinking can bridge
                             the  gap  between  theory  and  practice;  support  student  outcomes  such  as  empathy,
                             reflection, and creativity; and encourage risk-taking and community engagement.
                                Design thinking is a mindset and a process. As a mindset, design thinking promotes
                             creativity and the belief that people can create change and make a difference through
                             their efforts. Design thinking is about possibilities, experimentation, and risk-taking.
                             Although most educators like to get an A on every assignment, in design thinking,
                             everyone must embrace ambiguity, suspend judgment, and step out of his or her
                             comfort zone for learning to occur. Designers embody the spirit of ingenuity through
                             the iterative process. They can follow in the footsteps of Thomas Edison, who said,
                             “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” (Edison, n.d.).
                                Varied models are associated with the design-thinking process. Some common
                             models  used  in  educational  settings  include  those  from  the  Design  School  at
                             Stanford (; Shanks, 2010) and IDEO’s design-thinking toolkit (2012). Both
                             models have five phases that describe a similar thinking process. The model
                             contains  empathize,  define,  ideate,  prototype,  and  test,  while  IDEO  labels  their
                             phases discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution.
                                Many of the activities and ways of thinking in design thinking will seem familiar
                             and natural for educators because such professionals are constantly looking for more
                             effective ways to teach, manage materials, implement programs, redesign space,
                             and achieve better outcomes for students. However, the design-thinking process is
                             a structured approach to generating and evolving ideas that helps designers be more
                             collaborative and intentional as they design new solutions. Designers use divergent
                             thinking to understand the challenge and users and to create solutions, and they
                             use convergent thinking to focus their thinking and to prototype feasible solutions.
                             Design thinking is not about fixing things but about rethinking and redesigning.
                             Design  thinking  is  purposefully  iterative. Accordingly,  two  principles  of  design
                             thinking help frame the process. First, systems produce the results that they were
                             designed to produce, and second, any system that was designed can be redesigned.

        6                                             The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin: International Journal for Professional Educators
   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13