Design Thinking

Design thinking is a unique way of approaching complex problems that has remarkable results. It consists of a simple strategy that can be applied to any industry or profession when it comes to problem solving. Design thinking is practised across the Seidenberg School via the NYC Design Factory, which is our branch of the Design Factory Global Network. 

The design thinking strategy is as follows:

Defining the problem sounds easy, but it is not always the simplest thing to do. Often we think we know what the problem is when we are actually observing a symptom of the problem. In design thinking, it's important to keep stripping it back and asking "why" until we come to the real reason something doesn't work or needs to be improved. Only once the actual problem has been defined can steps be taken to respond.

Lots of them. Design thinking is a collaborative process, and this is where the magic of a team of people working an issue out begins to show. The idea is not just to come up with one or two good ideas for addressing the above problem, but to come up with as many solutions as possible. It doesn't matter if some of the ideas aren't great - what matters is that the creative juices start flowing and the team comes up with a whole selection to choose from.

Now that you have a mound of ideas to choose from, it's time to go through them and pick the best ones to refine into executable plans. During this process, teams perfect the selected solutions and really work out they would be used to solve the problem. It's common for new ideas to arise at this time, which can be discarded or added into the "maybe" pile as they go on.

Finally, the best idea is picked and executed as the solution to the problem. After going through the process of defining the problem, then creating and refining solutions for it, the team has spent time making sure that they execute the absolute best solution to the problem. This is where the remarkable results comes in. While it may initially take longer to undergo the design thinking process than other problem solving methods (which emphasize getting the problem solved ASAP but can fall apart later), design thinking ensures that the correct problem is solved with the best solution.

At Seidenberg, we are big advocates of design thinking and employ it in the classroom, as well as at our many workshops held throughout the year. We partner with Aalto University in Finland and our students travel there every year to participate in the Product Development Project (PDP). PDP also takes place at the Seidenberg School in our NYC Design Factory, where Pace students and international students work together to build awesome products.

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