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Design Thinking Process


Design Thinking is the framework for our design and problem solving process at VIDA. The concept is attributed greatly to David Kelley, the Founder of IDEO - one of the world's leading Design Firms, located in northern California. The Design Thinking process provides us a common language for addressing problem solving, and gives students a consistent message and steps to take for engaging in problem solving.

Through this process, our students are first " problem-finders " and become " solution-designers ."

The Design Thinking process will be integrated across the curriculum, with being specifically taught during students' Design Lab periods. The steps and process of Design Thinking will be reinforced in the content areas of students. At times a teacher(s) will take students through an entire design challenge, while at other times, specific aspects of the process will be emphasized in class activities.


Design Thinking Process



The video below was developed before we opened. As we have practiced Design Thinking, and worked with students in the process, we have grown and evolved. While some of the images and language may look a little different than the current process - the ideas are the same and it remains a good reference point.

VIDA DesignThinking from VIDASHARKS on Vimeo.



Discovery logo


Students discover something & someone to design for. We like to think of this as seeking an opportunity to make something better. Often times these show up as a 'problem.' This may be a problem from history, from literature, in current events, a societal problem, or an everyday "life" problem. But 'problem' is too limiting, so think of opportunities! This is the research phase.



Empathy logo


Empathy is what we gain when we understand the view points of others. In design, this may be in terms of the needs of a product's users, or it may be in designing solutions to problems faced by people. We can access empathy in many ways across the content and beyond. This allows us to dig deep into things that people often do not associate with design, such as English and History class. By digging into the content, literature, stories, history, and such, we can begin to practice the skills of empathy and re-design solutions for problems throughout time and literature. We can also do this for social issues, and product development.




Focus logo


Once we have found a problem or opportunity to solve for, and gathered empathy for those affected, we can define our focus for the work that will be done.




Ideate Logo


Once we have defined the focus of our work, we can begin the ideation process. This is brainstorming, and this is where the need for creativity really comes in. We often say, "begin with the most obvious, worse idea" and put it up on an Idea Board. That means no other idea can be worse, and it builds the confidence of participants. Students may sketch, build, use a whiteboard, discuss, write or any other method needed to generate their ideas. In this process we consider the concept of "How Might We" statements to ensure hope, optimism and collaboration.



Prototype Logo


Once we have completed our brainstorm, it is time to design. At VIDA, this may be designing an actual product, it may be designing a robot or computer program to solve a problem, it may be a poem, or it may be a letter to a politician. It may be a process, it may be a fundraiser idea, it may be knitting, or organizing others into an event. As modeled by our INTERNAL LINK Bedrocks, we are biased towards action and "doing" is a major component of our program.



Deliver Refine Logo


Once we have designed a solution, we have to determine its effectiveness. We take this "deliverable" and get it into the hands of our user so that we can determine: "Am I done" or "Did I miss something," "What else needs to adjusted?" Does it meet the need(s) of the user? So get the solution into the hands of your user, seek feedback and refine it! We value grit and perseverance, it is okay to fail, as long as we never give up!



This article highlighted VIDA as a school based on Design Thinking. Read more by clicking HERE.



Stanford School

Design Thinking K-12 Network


Edutopia Resources (PDF)

Harvard Business Article (PDF)

AGTF Resource Pack March 9, 2015 (PDF)

BNMakerFaire November 2015 (PDF)

Empathy Map PDF

Human Centered Design - Models of Innovation (PDF)