Design Thinking for Beginners


Apply the five-step design thinking process to identify and creatively solve problems using a human-centered approach.

Think of a problem or challenge you had to solve at work recently. How did you approach it? Did you find yourself overwhelmed with the number of possible solutions? Were you unsure how to even start? Design thinking can help.

Design thinking is a five-step human-centered process for creative problem solving. It was popularized by the Stanford and IDEO, and has been used by organizations around the world to solve knotty problems. It is all about understanding your user’s needs and solving the right problem. By using this human-centered design approach, you can develop products and services that truly help your user.

This course is meant to serve as an introduction to the principles of design thinking and touches on ways you can implement it in your workplace. The material is best suited for students who are new to design thinking or want a refresher on the core concepts. Luckily, design thinking can be applied to almost any field; no matter what your profession, design thinking can help you discover and implement the best solutions to problems you encounter.

In this course, you will:

  • Apply the 5-step design thinking process to a design challenge in your organization.
  • Empathize with your users through interviews and observations, in order to take a human-centered approach to a challenge.
  • Define your core problem by synthesizing and analyzing information gathered during your empathy work.
  • Ideate solutions to your problem by brainstorming using “How might we…” statements.
  • Prototype your ideas rapidly to identify the best possible solution for your problem.
  • Test your prototypes with users to gather feedback on your proposed solution.
  • Pitch design thinking to your team or organization using storytelling.

You will spend the duration of this course completing your own design thinking project, solving a design challenge of your choice. Each section contains activities that help you apply each step of the process to your design challenge. I’ve also provided a workbook for you to complete as you progress through this course with all the templates you need to complete your project. These can also serve as resources as you bring design thinking to your own day-to-day work!

My name is Laura Pickel, and I’ll be your instructor in this course. After learning design thinking as a student at the, I’ve continued to both use and teach design thinking at a variety of organizations, including IDEO, Lyft, SAP, and the I love helping people learn about the power of design thinking and hope you will be one of them!

If you’re ready to develop breakthrough solutions to help and delight your users, enroll in this course today!

CPE (Continuing Professional Education)

Learning Objectives

  1. Apply the 5-step design thinking process to a design challenge in your organization.
  2. Explain the value of doing empathy research with users.
  3. Compare different methods for empathy work.
  4. Critique the effectiveness of “How might we…” statements, in order to ideate potential solutions.
  5. Use scenes, props and roles to prototype a solution and bring it to life.
  6. Explain why testing prototypes with users often feels like a new round of empathy work
  7. Use the 3 principles of storytelling to pitch the value of design thinking

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