DT: WHAT DESIGNERS CAN LEARN FROM THE NON-DESIGNERS WHO TEACH IT
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Gill, Carolina; Eftekhary, Farzaneh
Institution: North Carolina State University, United States of America
Section: New Design and Engineering Education Paradigms
By analyzing the content of Design Thinking (DT) courses and conducting in-depth interviews with DT instructors, this study explored tools and methods used in 16 design, non-design and interdisciplinary DT courses in 10 universities in United States. The goal was to discover strategies and tools from non-design educators that could be useful to design instructors. Based on the secondary research, the non-design instructors used DT tools for divergent strategies and integrated the business tools in DT process to facilitate the convergence strategies in DT courses. Six in-depth interviews with DT instructors revealed a surprising cultural shift in non-design instructors’ perception for the role and value of design knowledge. The level of appreciation for designer’s mentorship and initiation of transdisciplinary collaboration among instructors was unexpected. Additionally, project-based learning was identified as a critical conduit of DT and transdisciplinary collaboration. The formulation of design challenges is a complex process that requires consideration of scope, complexity, roles, etc. DT facilitates true collaboration when the scope of the project is not too narrow that it predetermines the roles of the teams. The growing appreciation and awareness for DT opens opportunities for designers as mentors outside the disciplines of design in universities and in the professional practice context. Case study was identified as one of the most critical components in DT courses regardless of the discipline. When the challenges are given by clients in a real-life non-product-focused context, the opportunities for collaboration among students increase as the siloed opinions diminish in the face of practical concurrence of disciplines.