Why Design?

Design Thinking and the Design Process

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Design & Thinking Official Trailer

What ideas from the video resonated with you?

What is design thinking?

Loosely put, design thinking is a set of tools, methods, and processes by which we develop new answers for challenges, big and small. Through applying design thinking to challenges, we learn to define problems, understand needs and constraints, brainstorm innovative solutions, and seek and incorporate feedback about our ideas in order to continually make them better. The more we apply design thinking to the challenges we see, the deeper we strengthen the belief in our ability to generate creative ideas and make positive change happen in the world.

Excerpted from Design Thinking in Schools

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The Design Process

TEDxLondon - Ewan McIntosh

Our Very Own Problem Finders

Archer Hadley, Austin HS

On a rainy day in 2013, Austin High School student Archer Hadley approached a school door and waited for someone to open it. As water gushed down his back, Hadley, who has cerebral palsy, asked himself, "Hey, I've been to a lot of public places that have automatic doors, why can't I do something about this?" So he did.

Hadley raised over $80,000 through a wheelchair challenge: for $20, students and teachers could nominate someone to spend an entire day in a wheelchair or donate to the cause.

Jack Guy, Bowie HS

“I was disappointed with the quality of the new grade system from AISD and so I just decided to fix the problem,” Guy said. “The current technology is very inaccessible and the technology is super outdated.” The app is currently available in the app store for 99 cents.

GradeBuzz aimed to be more convenient than the current AISD system by adjusting the login policy. “The app maintains your login, so you don’t have to log in every thirty minutes and you only have to login once insread of twice,” Guy said. “It saves you like five clicks and then it displays your grades in a very accessible format, which you can update pretty easily.”

The Five Steps

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For each of the five design steps, consider the question below, and answer using the link to Today's Meet.

How do you embed or consider each of the five design steps in the professional learning experiences you provide?


Empathy is the centerpiece of a human-centered design process. The Empathize mode is the work you do to understand people, within the context of your design challenge. It is your effort to understand the way they do things and why, their physical and emotional needs, how they think about world, and what is meaningful to them.

- Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit


Generate a range of “How-Might-We . . .?” brainstorming topics that flow from your problem statement. These brainstorming topics typically are subsets of the entire problem, focusing on different aspects of the challenge.

- Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit


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Try designating three voting criteria (we might suggest “the most likely to delight,” “the rational choice,” “the most unexpected” as potential criteria, but they’re really up to you) to use to vote on three different ideas that your team generated during brainstorming. Carry the two or three ideas that receive the most votes forward into prototyping. In this way, you preserve innovation potential by carrying multiple ideas forward—a radically different approach than settling on the single idea that at least the majority of the team can agree upon.

- Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit


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Build with the user in mind. What do you hope to test with the user? What sorts of behavior do you expect? Answering these questions will help focus your prototyping and help you receive meaningful feedback in the testing phase.

- Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit


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The need for design thinking.

This movement to build a generation of design thinkers could not be more timely or more relevant. We are living in an age of increased complexity, and are facing global challenges at an unprecedented scale. The nature of connectivity, interactivity, and information is changing at lightening speed. We need to enable a generation of leaders who believe they can make a difference in the world around them, because we need this generation to build new systems and rebuild declining ones. We need them to be great collaborators, great communicators, and great innovators.

- Excerpted from Design Thinking in Schools

PLN Development

Follow some design leaders on Twitter: @ideo @DTwithSAP @stanforddschool @ewanmcintosh @annette_di or #designthinking

Explore Twitter history and posts

Craft and Tweet a question using appropriate hashtags and Twitter handles

Additional Resources

Erin Bown-Anderson

Teaching & Learning Community, AISD

Amber Rinehart

Teaching & Learning Community, AISD