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Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a systematic approach to understand people, define problems, and engineer innovative solutions. Students use empathy to understand human needs, to develop insights and ideas, and to design prototypes. This learning model helps students to identify ways they can make the world better AND have the personal will and tools to take action. 

“Design challenges” are integrated projects in which student use the design thinking process to engineer products and services. Projects can be short to help students to learn the process or longer to allow for more in-depth, independent investigation.

There are many benefits to learning the design thinking process  They include:

* Ability and confidence to delve into unknown areas, interview effectively, uncover underlying needs, test hypotheses

* Critical thinking, synthesis of information

* Empathy, deep curiosity, persistence

* Ability to question assumptions and think "outside the box"

* Understanding that collaboration can accomplish a great deal, openness to others' ideas

* Ability to remain on task, discuss differing opinions with respect, share the workload

* Brainstorming skills in writing, drawing, or three-dimensional building

* Ability to shift one's thinking to a more playful, non-judging, idea-rich mode when needed

* Openness, flexibility, ability to hold one's ideas loosely, "what-if" thinking

* Action orientation, an open attitude, experience with a wide variety of tools and materials, a can-do attitude facilitating invention of ways to create prototypes, a pioneering attitude

* A new approach to failure by viewing it as an invaluable information source rather than a personal affront

* Active seeking and thorough evaluation of user feedback, reinvention or modification of thinking and/or design based on evaluation

* Basic project-management skills: how to prioritize, sequence, and plan, how to assess progress and adjust

* Development of entrepreneurial ability to see opportunities, take risks and created

* Empowerment, motivation, and problem-solving skills 

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