The relevance of design thinking

The relevance of design thinking

The relevance of design thinking

The main emphasis in design teaching usually resides in studio format classes, where students discuss their ideas and learn by doing, improving their projects through an iterative process.

In design there is no exhaustive list of papers or books that can teach you how to think and work like a designer. The fundamental skills, such as the ability to re-frame and re-contextualize problems into opportunities, and finding appropriate solutions, can only be learned by doing many design projects.

Bryan Lawson calls design knowledge “knowing by doing”. Design knowledge is also often referred to as “tacit knowledge – knowledge that is difficult to explain explicitly in detail, even by experts. It is complex knowledge acquired over time through practice.

How does then the recently popularized term Design Thinking fit in this continuum of understanding the design process? David Kelley, the founder of the IDEO design agency discusses a few important aspects of Design Thinking as he understands it. Firstly, realizing everyone can be a creative person and acquiring creative confidence. Secondly, having a methodology for your process, consisting of 5 steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. And finally applying your thinking to a real-world problem.

Since the fundamental aspects of design knowledge can only be learned by doing, at LSDM students create their own design projects and develop them through discussion with classmates, tutor and outside partners.

Armando Vilas-Boas – MA Design Course Leader

London School of Design and Marketing



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