Design Thinking

When researching for a way to respond to this post, I started with the basics: “What is design thinking?” Google’s definitions included:

-Design Thinking is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result.
-A set of skills, competencies or dispositions relating to the highly iterative collaborative process designers employ when conceiving, planning and producing an object or system.
– A process that endeavors to solve problems and create new possibilities, generally by relying on empathic research (studying people to try to figure out what they need) combined with creative experimentation and extensive prototyping and refinement—all aimed at the goal of producing better, more useful objects, experiences, services, and systems.
-“Design thinking” is an approach to design, commonly used in community development, service design, problem formulation and product design, typically in complex and contentious situations or to break out of a period of stagnation. The term is now most closely associated with the methods employed by the IDEO design company, working in a diverse range of fields, including health care and sustainable development in Africa and Asia. Key methods include “lo-fi prototyping”, anthropological participant observation, theatrical and filmic narrative building, and the “three spaces” method described by Tim Brown in his influential essay “Design Thinking” (Harvard Business Review, June 2008).

In short, design thinking is a process of creatively solving problems or creating unique resolutions with empathy and “anthropological participant observation”. Design thinking occurs when the designer gets to know the person or company in depth, and on a more personal level, in order to create a more meaningful resolution. Many articles I read revert back to the company “IDEO” and their new wave of design. Ideo finds the scientific design answers through personal experiences and connections with the client in order to design a more sustainable resolution.

Similar to IDEO, TED is a nonprofit which connects the worlds of technology, design and entertainment in order to spread the word of “ideas worth spreading”. The mission is “We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world”. TED connects scientific technology with unique design to creatively construct a solution that is exclusive to the situation.

Design thinking is imperative to scientific media design because of the need for a new way to look at things. We discussed the use of creative design thinking when creating models in order for doctors to find operating solutions for separating Siamese twins. Without the aspect of design thinking, we would be looking at a flat chart of the bodies and basically making an educated guess as to how we should operate. When forming unique designs of the twin’s bodies, the doctor was able to see exactly where the bones, and tissues, and vessels were located and therefore more reluctant to separate with the least amount of harm. Design thinking uses empathy to create new possibilities and resolution. It takes the blandness out of science.

Works Cited
Ted: Ideas worth spreading. (2008, September). Retrieved from
Wikipedia. (2012, January). Retrieved from


5 thoughts on “Design Thinking

  1. I agree that scientific media design is a constant infusion of new ideas, procedures, and causes because as the world of science changes so will the media and the need to express and communicate it. In science there is always a new idea or phenomenon to study making scientific media design a field of endless possibilities. The design thinking for scientific design is as vast as the field of science. It can be applied to medical procedures, mechanics, solar systems, criminal trials, anatomical reconstruction, botany, and all related scientific realities.

  2. It’s amazing how many areas of science there are and I look forward to finding my nitch as a designer of scientific media. Like teebeeblog said there are endless possibilities and that means that one has to be very careful about Design Thinking and send the right message to the right target. It is going to an exciting area of study thats for sure no matter where your feet land. Combining art and science with morals and values not to mention a vast collaboration of ideas is exhilarating to say the least.

  3. It seems like you went into more of a psychology, sociology and anthropology take. Your entry sounds a lot like how the professionals are trained to think from these subjects. Should science design or just any design be more involved in these?

  4. Agreed, design thinking is more efficient when the company or design think researchers cultivate a relationship with the people they are working with to directly cater to their needs. Scientists and design thinkers will benefit from each others experience, and acquired skills. Great read.

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