Design Thinking Challenges in Education

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Ericson, Åsa; Bergström, Mattias; Larsson, Andreas; Törlind, Peter
Section: Design Education and Lifelong Learning
Page(s): 89-100


Product development processes are commonly represented in sequential models covering the necessary stages from planning to product rollout, while processes to take needs into the development activities show other aspects, namely that understanding needs requires, for a product developer, additional skills. In our curricula for engineering design education we apply some aspects of design thinking to bring together (a) business savvy, in terms of understanding people's needs as market opportunities, and (b) product development process, in terms of team-based creativity and collaborative skills, with (c) the basic engineering knowledge. This is a demanding aim, much because the approaches, methods and mindsets differ widely from what the students are used to. Hence, in this paper we elaborate on our efforts to educate engineers in design thinking to provide insights into some challenges for engineering design. Three key challenges are identified, (1) integrative approaches are not straightforwardly implemented, (2) training of "soft" capabilities to provide a change in thinking, and (3) social competence to make use of design thinking.

Keywords: Design thinking, needfinding, design education, engineering design education, empathic design


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