The word "design" has traditionally been used to describe the visual aesthetics of objects such as books, websites, products, interiors, architecture, and fashion. But increasingly, the definition of design has expanded to include not just artifacts but strategic services and systems. As the challenges and opportunities facing businesses, organizations, and society grow more complex, and as stakeholders grow more diverse, an approach known as "design thinking" is playing a greater role in finding meaningful paths forward.
Design thinking is an iterative problem-solving process of discovery, ideation, and experimentation that employs various design-based techniques to gain insight and yield innovative solutions for virtually any type of organizational or business challenge. At the heart of this approach is a gaining a deep understanding of the needs of people and building solutions that are specifically targeted at solving those needs. In this course, we will unpack each step of the design thinking process and become familiar with the design thinker's toolkit. Students will develop skills as ethnographers, service designers, strategists, and storytellers through a hybrid of lectures, discussions, and group projects. This course will demystify design thinking beyond the media and business buzzwords and provide students with the theory and practical frameworks to integrate design thinking into their own public service practice.