Design Thinking as a methodology

Design thinking offers an appropriate methodological framework for hackathons, as well as preparatory and follow up work. It is a structured, practical and human-centric approach to generating, developing and materialising ideas that is based on the creative process typically followed by designers. It is a set of principles and a methodology involving a series of steps and processes that usually consist of 5 stages or modes of work:

Empathize: “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.”

“The goal of the Define mode is to craft a meaningful and actionable problem statement – this is what we call a point-of-view. This should be a guiding statement that focuses on insights and needs of a particular user, or composite character.”

“Ideate is the mode of the design process in which you concentrate on idea generation. Mentally it represents a process of “going wide” in terms of concepts and outcomes.  Ideation provides both the fuel and also the source material for building prototypes and getting innovative solutions into the hands of your users.”“The Prototype mode is the iterative generation of artifacts intended to answer questions that get you closer to your final solution (…) A prototype can be anything that a user can interact with – be it a wall of post-it notes, a gadget you put together, a role-playing activity, or even a storyboard. Ideally you bias toward something a user can experience.”

“The Test mode is when you solicit feedback, about the prototypes you have created, from your users and have another opportunity to gain empathy for the people you are designing for.”

Introduction to Design Thinking: Process Guide n.d.

The Design Thinking process typically involves generating data and co-creating solutions in response to findings and narratives, going through various cycles where the number of possibilities proliferate and are narrowed down.

The first two stages will take place in preparation for the eduHack day, which will then primarily focused on the ideation and prototyping components.

Image by IDEO (2012) under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.


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