Conference PaperPDF Available

Design Thinking for Inclusive Community Design: (How) Does it Work?


Abstract and Figures

The paper discusses design thinking as a conceptual framework and methodological approach for fostering discussion and facilitating ideas that promote diversity and inclusion. We provide a theoretical overview of design thinking and related approaches to then discuss our case study, a workshop on inclusive community development that brought together researchers from different disciplines, city planners, architects and students. We analyze and reflect upon the conceptual development, facilitation and evaluation of the workshop. We give a detailed overview of workshop concept, workshop results and workshop evaluation data. Practitioners will find this article a valuable source for design thinking creative commons material. Researchers can use the analysis as a starting point for further investigating the effectiveness of design thinking.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Design Thinking for Inclusive Community Design: (How) Does it Work?
Stefanie Panke
School of Government
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
United States
Thilo Harth
Fachhochschule Münster
Abstract: The paper discusses design thinking as a conceptual framework and methodological
approach for fostering discussion and facilitating ideas that promote diversity and inclusion. We
provide a theoretical overview of design thinking and related approaches to then discuss our case
study, a workshop on inclusive community development that brought together researchers from
different disciplines, city planners, architects and students. We analyze and reflect upon the
conceptual development, facilitation and evaluation of the workshop. We give a detailed overview
of workshop concept, workshop results and workshop evaluation data. Practitioners will find this
article a valuable source for design thinking creative commons material. Researchers can use the
analysis as a starting point for further investigating the effectiveness of design thinking.
Design thinking is a problem solving method geared to overcome wicked problems, that have no right or
wrong solution and resist traditional scientific and engineering approaches, as the information needed to
understand the problem depends upon one's idea for solving it(Rittel & Webber, 1973, 161). Design thinking aims
at transcending the immediate boundaries of the problem to ensure that the right questions are being addressed. The
process foresees steps that allow participants to analyze, synthesize, diverge and generate insights from different
domains through drawing, prototyping and storytelling (Brown, 2009). During the design thinking process, the
facilitator encourages learners to see constraints as inspiration (Brown & Wyatt, 2010). The results are typically not
directed toward a technological "quick fix” but toward new integrations of signs, things, actions, and environments
(Buchanan, 1992).
The essence of design thinking is to put learners into contexts that make them think and work like an expert
designer, and thereby foster civic literacy, empathy, cultural awareness and risk taking (Sharples et al., 2016). As
awareness of the designed experience increases, so does the desire to apply the process of design thinking to a wider
range of scenarios to analyze and resolve any business or productivity challenge in a new, insightful, invigorating
manner (Hodgkinson, 2013). Achieving greater inclusion in community planning and development is one such
Facets of Design Thinking
While the concept of concept of design thinking within the academic dialogue of design has been under
discussion for more than 30 years, its recent adoption as an innovation method has lead to its popularity in various
disciplines (Wigley and Straker, 2017). As Goldschmidt (2017) stated, the term design thinking means different
things to different communities. The author distinguishes two facets: (1) Descriptive models of the design process,
based on observational research of real-life or laboratory design activities by individuals or teams; (2) a method to
be practiced in industries that strive to introduce innovative products or services. Interest in how designers work and
think progressively moved from the purview of designers and architects to the field of management and business
administration (Elsbach & Stigliani, 2018). Both communities emphasize iterative processes, collaboration, speed of
concept modeling and testing through prototyping, and interaction with users. However, as Goldschmidt (2017)
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
emphasized, the difference between cognitive models and facilitation methods should not be overlooked. Similarly,
Wigley and Straker (2017) note a shift from discussing and studying design thinking as cognitive processes
designers use, to a specific way that non-designers evaluate and use design methods a shift from design as a
science to design as a mindset” (Wigley and Straker, 2017, p.2).
Elsbach and Stigliani (2018) describe design thinking as an approach to problem solving that uses tools traditionally
utilized by designers of commercial products, processes, and environments. According to Cochrane & Munn (2016)
the three main elements of design thinking are observational research, visual sense making, and rapid prototyping.
The authors describe a typical design thinking process as a cycle of (1) empathizing and observing, (2) defining the
problem, (3) creating ideas, (4) prototyping and (5) testing (Cochrane & Munn, 2016).
In the context of this article, we follow a similar view of design thinking as a process and mindset. Furthermore, we
relate design thinking to participatory design, bricolage and serious play:
Participatory Design is an approach that involves the users of a product early on in the development process.
Related to the theoretical framework of activity theory, participatory design techniques expose the intricate mix of
activities users engage in, reflecting the complexity, flexibility, and social character of each activity (Kaptelinin &
Nardi, 2012). Lamb und Kling (2003) criticized the notion of individuals as “users” and propose the richer
perspective of social agents - “the socially thin user construct limits our understanding of information selection,
manipulation, communication, and exchange within complex social contexts” (Lamb & Kling, 2003). Instead of
being a research subject, people are given influence and room for informing, ideating, and conceptualizing activities
in the early design phases (Sanders & Stappers, 2008).
Bricolage means to engage in a dialogue with a heterogeneous collection of materials and tools, in which items are
repurposed and rearranged to solve a problem (Sharples et al., 2014). Bricolage comprises tools and artifacts that
were accumulated over time. This may include material that was collected without any specific purpose, and picked
up simply because it might be useful someday; as well as outcomes, products or ‘leftovers’ from other projects. The
typical bricolage setting is one of constant remix: Its tools and artifacts are not limited to only use nor does one need
specialized expertise to adapt and use them. Bricolage means to engage in a dialogue with a heterogeneous
collection of materials and tools, in which items are repurposed and rearranged to solve a problem (Sharples et al.,
2014). Bricolage does not necessitate having a clear end in sight. On the contrary, it requires the stakeholders to be
open and start with a vaguely defined idea.
LEGO Serious Play is a collaborative, creative method that uses Lego blocks and figures to develop scenarios for
organizational development, conflict resolution or web design (Cantoni et al., 2009). The method aims at improving
group problem solving, shared learning, listening and collaborating by making and creating. Building solutions and
prototypes using LEGO bricks is thought to create flow experiences for participants. There are many connection
between serious play and design thinking, and oftentimes design thinking processes involve the use of LEGO bricks.
Inclusion, Diversity and Design Thinking
Inclusive design takes place most productively among people with an array of social and cultural
backgrounds, economic circumstances, personal characteristics, philosophical perspectives, and life experiences.
Yet, oftentimes, design and development teams are, at least on the surface, fairly heterogeneous. Though achieving
greater diversity in their workforce has become an important goal for more and more organizations (Hunt, Prince,
Dixon-Fyle & Yee, 2018), this process tends to happen slowly, and cannot be seen as an immediate fix for achieving
design solutions that better address inclusiveness.
Given the current organizational structure of the workforce in higher education and government, it is most likely that
a think tank, task force or committee will not include a full representation of the group or groups whose design
challenges are supposed to be addressed. This can lead to problems when decisions are filtered through or based
upon stereotypical views of the user group. Implicit narratives in design can perpetuate injustice instead of fostering
equity (Bradshaw. 2018). As Oygür (2018) points out: ‘the user is not a given; instead, the user is a constructed
phenomenon in design’ (p.24).
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
In-group vs. out-group categorizations happen automatically and involuntarily. The Implicit Association Test (IAT)1
invites test takers to group words or pictures depending on racial, religious, ethnic, and many other categories.
People tend to have implicit bias against people who belong to another group and feel less empathy towards them
(Jolls & Sunstein, 2006). Looking at empathy from an analytical perspective, we can develop effective strategies
that allow us to better understand and feel with others, and overcome prejudices and stereotypes.
Ferguson et al. (2017) distinguish three facets of empathy:
Emphatic resonance, an instinctive emotional reflection of other people’s feelings
Emphatic reasoning, an intentional undertaking to imagine yourself in another person’s shoes
Emphatic response, the motivation and willingness to appropriately address another person’s needs.
The central idea of design thinking lies in user-centered product development. By guiding stakeholders through a
predefined sequence of exercises the facilitator attempts to foster both empathy and creativity. Design thinking
confronts stakeholders with their preconceived notions of organizational issues or initiatives, and fosters the shared
understanding of problem scope as well as crucial components that are difficult to conceptualize. Design thinking
can address diversity and inclusion in three crucial, different ways:
1. By recruiting diverse teams for the design thinking process.
2. By fostering empathy through targeted, structured activities.
3. By surfacing and addressing the diversity within a particular group.
Design thinking allows developers to embrace ‘the blurred space of social ambiguity’ with the purpose of making
outcomes more innovative (Lindberg, Meinel & Wagner, 2011). Bross, Acar, Schilf & Meinel (2009) describe
design thinking as “a human-centered systems thinking approach that creates experiences for stakeholders by
matching human factors with technological feasibility and business viability” (p. 904). The approach seeks to bring
together different areas of expertise and leverage concepts and tools sets from from each domain to analyze,
synthesize, and generate insights and new ideas (Melles, Howard & Thompson-Whiteside, 2012).
Liedtka (2015) discussed design thinking as a method to reduce cognitive bias. According to her analysis, design-
thinking practices carry the potential for improving innovation outcomes by mitigating an established set of
cognitive flaws: people often project their own world view onto others, limit the options considered, and ignore
disconfirming data. While the author analyzed 9 different types of cognitive bias in detail, she also offered three
distinct general categories of cognitive bias. In the context of inclusiveness, Liedtka’s first category of biases that
relate to decision-makers’ proclivity to become trapped in their own world view is specifically meaningful. It
comprises the following tendencies:
Projection bias: People have a tendency to project their past experiences and thus over-estimate the extent
to which the future will resemble the present.
Hot/cold gap: People’s emotional state, whether emotion-laden (hot) or not (cold), unduly influences their
assessment of the potential value of an idea.
Egocentric empathy gap: People consistently overestimate the similarity between what they value and what
others value.
Focusing illusion: People tend to over-estimate the effect of one factor at the expense of others,
overreacting to specific stimuli, and ignoring others.
According to Liedtka (2015), a remedy for category 1 biases is to improve decision-makers’ ability to imagine the
experience of those other than themselves, even in the absence of first-hand data gathering.
Case Study
In February 2018 the authors of this article were involved in a design thinking workshop at Muenster
University of Applied Sciences (Germany) in the roles of facilitator and participant. Our case study analysis reflects
both perspectives, and uses evaluation results to further illuminate how the workshop structure fostered creativity
and empathy, and what limitations the participants perceived.
A central aspect of the research cluster 'participation and well-being' at the Münster University of Applied Sciences
1 Implicit Association Test (IAT)
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
is to seek ideas of how to develop the living quarters and neighborhoods in Germany cities. Despite the
predominantly excellent digital infrastructure, the excellent health care and manifold assisted living offers in
Germany, the potential of inclusion, equal co-existence and social coherence are not sufficiently supported. There is
a lack of urban planning networking, the active and productive interaction of different population groups (young and
old, single and family members, working and retired, majority society and migrants, etc.). The consequences are
both individual and social problems such as loneliness and high material and social costs for individual health care.
The design thinking workshop was an opportunity for researchers and practitioners from different disciplines
(medical technicians, architects, nursing and health experts, educators) to jointly develop a neighborhood and think
'out of the box'.
The workshop on inclusive community development brought together researchers from different disciplines, city
planners, architects and students, most of whom did not have any prior experience with design thinking. The
participants’ goals fell into three groups: (1) introduction to design thinking (2) basic / introductory level exchange
on community development (3) specific ideas / specific problems in community engagement and development, such
as ‘dementia, public health (movement, fitness), activating volunteers, offering public participation.
Since the area of inclusion and bias reduction through design thinking is relatively unexplored, a case study provides
advantages for refining concepts and initiating theorizing. Robert Yin notes that a case study is “an empirical
enquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real-life context, especially when the
boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident” (Yin, 2009, p. 14).
Workshop Design
The workshop engaged participants with participatory development techniques and design thinking tools for
orchestrating conflicting ideas, identifying singular needs and common goals, making productive use of diverse
backgrounds and developing a shared vision.
Ice Breaker: Tell Me About Your Neighborhood – Who / What Is Not On the Map?
Since design thinking is a visual and haptic approach, we started the workshop with an exercise that tapped into the
visualization and spatial thinking skills of the participants by asking them to draw a map of their quarter.
Specifically, the task was to map out barriers to inclusion and participation.
Draw a map of your own neighborhood.
What are some barriers to inclusiveness and social activities that you experience?
Who do you never meet in your neighborhood? Why do you think that is?
This was an interesting way to get to know one another, and create a sharing, collegial atmosphere. It also produced
a list of barriers and enablers to active community life, as well as typical quarters that exemplify the demographics
of many German neighborhoods.
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
Figure 1: 'Sketch your Neighborhood' - icebreaker activity
These are a few selected results of the exercise:
Aging Neighborhood: ‘With my little daughter, I live in a town house. There are very few young people
and almost no families in our area. Instead, we have an assisted care facility and senior residence and
housing geared at retirees. I did not feel like I would fit in at first, but there are many activities for kids at
the senior center offers many activities for children, and we like out ‘gray quarter’.
Downtown Traffic Junction: ‘Though I live very central, and feel like I am close to everything, I don’t do
anything in my immediate neighborhood. There is just too much traffic, and noise, and it does not feel safe
to walk or bike’.
Affluent Suburbia: ‘I do not interact with the people in my neighborhood, we all live in our own little
boxes. Everyone has a house with garden, every yard is fenced in. And everyone gets home from work to do
their own thing. Behind the fence. I am not sure if I would even want to change that or how’.
Creating Personas
The use of personas – fictional persons – to represent an abstract consumer originally derived from the field of
marketing and, since the late 1990s – inspired by a publication by Cooper (1999) has also been applied within the
framework of software engineering to expand other usability methods (Pruitt & Grudin, 2003). We used the
personas approach as a narrative tool to give workshop participants an authentic glimpse into the everyday life of
people living in a prototypical neighborhood. Personas are an immersive way for bringing abstract target group
information to life through the presence of a specific, fictional personality (Junior & Filgueiras, 2005). Acting as a
“projection screen”, personas aid in identifying needs and possible behavioral patterns (Panke, Gaiser & Werner,
After a brief overview of statistical data on typical demographics in a German neighborhood, participants worked in
teams of 3, and designed 1-2 portraits that outlined characteristics of each persona.
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
Figure 2: Personas posters
The material set for the personas exercise comprised posters and a variety of headshots to choose from to construct
the fictional biography outlines. Participants created a total of 11 personas. Interestingly, even though the photo pool
offered pictures of a diverse population, the resulting personas were somewhat more heterogeneous than the
facilitator expected. While, for example, participants selected images that were in their original context depicting a
black lesbian couple with their toddler, a blind physician, and a transgender woman, the fictional characters had
none of these traits.
Here is a selection of two of the most commonly referenced personas that participants kept using during their design
thinking process:
Mehmet, 56, married, owns his own kiosk stand. He sells snacks, lottery tickets, newspapers, magazines
and offers package drop-off. His objectives are financial security in old age, and he dreams of buying a
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
house for retirement in Turkey. What prevents him from being active in the neighborhood are his very long
work days. While he seems to know almost everyone who lives in the quarter, he mostly has superficial
chats with customers at the kiosk. He should exercise more for his health, and is upset that his son looks
down on his work in the kiosk stand.
Claudia, 32, works late shifts at an Amazon packaging center. She lives alone with her two cats, but
recently met someone, whom she is dating. She wants to use her leisure time in more meaningful ways,
have outlets to be creative and connect with nature. The hectic pace of her life and the lack of rhythm due
to evening and night shifts keep her from being active. She feels invisible in the neighborhood and has
limited financial resources.
Design Thinking Process
The personas and their legends delivered the necessary context for design decisions and priorities in the next step of
the creative process, the design thinking cycle. During the design thinking process participants cycle rapidly through
a series of tasks that prompt them to observe, brainstorm, synthesize, prototype and discuss. Each participant worked
in a dyadic team that went through four design sheets with structured prompts:
(1) DEFINE & FOCUS: Pick one of the personas and specify which social inclusion problem you want to
solve for this person. Remember that how you describe the problem affects the solution, so pay attention to
precise, concise and action-oriented language. Present to your partner.
(2) GENERATE & DEBATE Generate 3-5 ideas to address the problem with novel solutions or disruptive
technologies. Aim for a large effect, broad reach and replicable results. Present to your partner.
(3) SELECT & SKETCH Choose one of your ideas and sketch it out in more detail (literally). Select the best-
received, the most interesting to you, the most likely to be implemented, the most unusual or the solution
with the most options for collaborating with others. Present to your partner.
(4) BUILD & PRESENT: Design a prototype or three-dimensional representation of your solution with the
materials in the room (card board, paper, tape, clay). Let your partner / the gropup react to the prototype.
Both express and receive positive and negative feedback, ideas for improvement or extension, and open
We went through two cycles of the design thinking process so that each participant developed, discussed, sketched,
and built out two ideas. After the first round, we re-formed the teams, so that everyone worked with two different
people, ideally each from a different context. While the conceptual idea stages where developed in a dyadic setting,
each participant presented their prototypes to the whole group and got feedback from the plenum.
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
Figure 3: Design thinking prototyping results
Community Engagement can happen in different spaces and places, through events or programs, facilitated by
technology and public infrastructure, comprising public, commercial and private spheres. The workshop participants
developed 28 different design ideas.
The following selected concepts exemplify the breadth and depth of contributions:
Intergenerational Car-Sharing: Fewer and fewer young people in Germany purchase their own car.
However, for old people, mobility and independence are very much tied to an automobile. An
intergenerational car sharing service would allow beginning drivers to use senior residents’ cars in return
for assisting with transportation.
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
Open Fences: People open up their front yards and create community spaces, for example a bench, that
invites neighbors to stop and talk.
DIY workshops taught by senior citizens: Many seniors citizens are retired craftsmen whose expertise,
workshop spaces and tools remain an unused resource. In the wake of the ‘Do-It-Yourself’ movement,
retirees can make use of valuable skills and equipment by offering classes in the neighborhood, opening up
their garages for repair clubs, or supervising volunteers who conduct minor repairs or construction work in
public spaces in need for repair (i.e., schools).
School bus for Seniors: Instead of offering food delivery services (Germany has ‘meals on wheels’
subscription services for senior citizens), the ‘school bus’ picks up senior residents at their home and drives
them to a shared lunch location to create community and combat isolation.
To facilitate the final discussion, each participant used a traffic light system for a personal summary of the event,
using a green, yellow and red card to sort out ideas to pursue, ideas to learn more about or evaluate further, and ideas
to discard. One shared research question emerged in the final discussion that underlies all the ideas developed in the
workshop: Why do some community-based initiatives work while others are not accepted and supported by the
residents? What is the formula for success to activate a neighborhood? The initiative chose this question to zoom in
as this particular research focus.
Lessons Learned
Design thinking is a playful approach that should by no means be misunderstood as 'anything goes'. Rather,
a design thinking process requires careful facilitation with clear rules, especially with regard to time management.
Equally important is a thorough follow-up that summarizes and expands upon the results.
The interwoven activities of personas design and design thinking cycle worked particularly well to increase the
development of user centered approaches. Since every idea had to be grounded in a storyline that put one of the
personas in the center, innovations had to address concrete, individual problems and had to be credible attempts at
improving an, albeit fictional, person’s life.
In retrospect, the personas method could have been used more effectively by giving more specific prompts to target
diversity, e.g.:
Create a persona that significantly differs from your own background.
What feels difficult about telling this person’s story?
What assumptions are you making?
How can you learn more?
Building out three-dimensional representations of the idea is an important part of the design thinking process. As the
blogger Jackie Gerstein puts it ‘the human need to create is innate’ so when people are given the opportunity,
materials, and methods, they typically fully embrace making and creating (User Generated Education, March
2018)2. This observation resonates with our experiences: The making activity was the most engaging and active part
of the workshop.
Though it takes more time to do this and may seem redundant, we recommend going through two rounds of the
design thinking cycle. This allows participants to work with more than one partner and gain familiarity with the
process. Whereas in round one, participants struggled with the time limits, in round two they were often finished
ahead of time. It also allows participants to develop and apply individual preferences. In round two, one participant
chose to forego the sketching step in the second round, because she felt that she was making more process in
refining her thoughts about her idea while building, then while sketching.
Evaluation Results
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
Seven weeks after the workshop, the participants received a result summary of the personas and the design
ideas, together with a short online survey that comprised one binary, three Likert, and four open ended questions.
The survey was distributed by email with a personalized invitation link. With two reminders, 11 out of 15
participants answered the questionnaire. As an incentive, we raffled off a recent design thinking book title among
We asked participants to rate the efficiency of design thinking to present and share ideas. Generating ideas and
concepts, increasing empathy and working collaboratively are seen as strength of the approach.
Figure 4: Please rate the effectiveness of design thinking based on your workshop experience. (n=11).
Are the haptic aspects of the design thinking method (i.e. three-dimensional prototyping) particularly helpful for
developing or presenting ideas? While the prototyping was overwhelmingly perceived as helpful to firther develop
one’s idea, the perception of the effectiveness as a presentation and interaction foil for others was mixed among the
Figure 5: As how helpful did you perceive the prototyping? Please rate the effectiveness. (n=11)
Overall, the participants viewed the workshop experience favorably, as the following comments illustrate:
Expectations were fully met and it was a lot of fun to get creative in this group.
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
Competent workshop design and moderation
The entry "to think in one’s own neighborhood" was great.
The design thinking steps were very good.
Overall, I liked the event very much.
The workshop gave a good insight into the method.
There were some ideas for improvement, specifically, not everyone enjoyed the two cycles of design thinking:
In the second round I did not have enough ideas myself, so I was very insecure and found it strange to
present my idea as it was. There should have been a recovery of ideas from the first round or the option to
work on someone else’s idea.
Maybe next time only one round.
I think that the subject of movement should have been more in focus since the title was the "Moving
Only one of the participants reported to have worked in more detail on the ideas that were generated in the
workshop. The workshop results will be presented and discussed at a project event, and participants will meet for a
follow-up workshop. Several participants plan to organize design thinking activities, particularly with students.
Regarding design thinking as a method, participants reported both positive outcomes and negative aspects.
Positive outcomes:
To receive impulses to think in other directions.
interdisciplinary approach
The development of personas and the subsequent prototyping
The open approach and the integration of different perspectives.
Creativity, possibility to think through unconventional ideas.
Negative aspects:
It could become too abstract and thus too far removed from the subject.
It is unclear how to move from first ideas to further development of innovative, marketable products /
Unclear what is already on the market. That would need to be researched in a timely manner so that ideas
do not fizzle out.
It lacks the opportunity to research whether the imagined solution already exists, and whether it makes any
Realistic assessments of models and ideas: all comments and ideas were treated equal (both strength and
weakness), missing data (ideas arise from a ‘gut feeling’)
This article provides practical examples that practitioners can re-use, repurpose and adapt.
In our experience, design thinking can specifically enhance emphatic reasoning and emphatic response, in particular
by tying the personas biographies to the design thinking challenge activity. The facilitator’s role was to translate the
domain of community development concepts into concrete and tangible artifacts that workshop members were able
to grasp, interact with and comment upon. The workshop created a space and time to allow for mutual learning
Generalizable, definite conclusions cannot be based on a single case study. Instead, the purpose of our case study
and the applicability of our findings can be characterized as exploratory and intrinsic following the typology
described by Baxter and Jack (2008).
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
Liedtka (2015) cautioned to consider the possible negative effects design-thinking approaches may produce, for
example group think. The workshop participants particularly wanted a better, more structured follow-up, and saw it
as a weakness that ideas cannot be critically evaluated in more depth. It seems that design thinking activities could
profit from blended concepts, that combine findings with a shared workspace, such as, so that
participants can more easily follow up on ideas.
Bradshaw A.C. (2018) Minding the Stories We Tell: Acknowledging and Addressing Implicit Narratives in IDT. In:
Hokanson B., Clinton G., Kaminski K. (eds) Educational Technology and Narrative. Springer, Cham
Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and implementation for novice
researchers. The qualitative report, 13(4), 544-559.
Bross, J., Acar, A. E., Schilf, P., & Meinel, C. (2009, August). Spurring Design Thinking through educational weblogging.
In Computational Science and Engineering, 2009. CSE'09. International Conference on (Vol. 4, pp. 903- 908). IEEE.
Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. New
York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Brown, T., & Wyatt, J. (2010). Design thinking for social innovation. Development Outreach, 12(1), 29-43.
Buchanan, R. (1992). Wicked problems in design thinking. Design issues, 8(2), 5-21.
Cantoni, L., Marchiori, E., Faré, M., Botturi, L., & Bolchini, D. (2009, October). A systematic methodology to use lego
bricks in web communication design. In Proceedings of the 27th ACM international conference on Design of
communication (pp. 187-192). ACM.
Cochrane, T. & Munn, J. (2016). EDR and Design Thinking: Enabling Creative Pedagogies. In Proceedings of EdMedia
2016--World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 315-324). Vancouver, BC, Canada: Association for
the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 3, 2018 from
Cooper, A. (1999). The inmates are running the asylum:[Why high-tech products drive us crazy and how to restore the
sanity]. Indianapolis: Sams.
Elsbach, K. D., & Stigliani, I. (2018). Design Thinking and Organizational Culture: A Review and Framework for Future
Research. Journal of Management, 0149206317744252.
Ferguson, R., Barzilai, S., Ben-Zvi, D., Chinn, C.A., Herodotou, C., Hod, Y., Kali, Y., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Kupermintz,
H., McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Sagy, O., Scanlon, E., Sharples, M., Weller, M., & Whitelock, D. (2017). Innovating
Pedagogy 2017: Open University Innovation Report 6. Milton Keynes: The Open University, UK. Retrieved April 3, 2018
Goldschmidt, G. (2017). Design Thinking: A Method or a Gateway into Design Cognition?. She Ji: The Journal of
Design, Economics, and Innovation, 3(2), 107-112.
Hodgkinson, G. (2013). Teaching Design Thinking. In J. Herrington, A. Couros & V. Irvine (Eds.), Proceedings of
EdMedia 2013--World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 1520-1524). Victoria, Canada: Association
for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
Hunt, V., Prince S., Dixon-Fyle, D. & Yee, L. (2018). Delivering Through Diversity. McKinsey & Company Report.
Retrieved April 3, 2018 from
Kaptelinin, V., & Nardi, B. (2012). Activity theory in HCI: Fundamentals and Reflections. Synthesis Lectures Human-
Centered Informatics, 5(1), 1-105.
Lamb, R., & Kling, R. (2003). Reconceptualizing users as social actors in information systems research. MIS quarterly,
Liedtka, J. (2015). Perspective: Linking design thinking with innovation outcomes through cognitive bias reduction.
Journal of Product Innovation Management, 32(6), 925-938.
Lindberg, T., Meinel, C., & Wagner, R. (2011). Design thinking: A fruitful concept for it development?. In Design
Thinking (pp. 3-18). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Melles, G., Howard, Z., & Thompson-Whiteside, S. (2012). Teaching design thinking: Expanding horizons in design
education. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 31, 162-166.
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
Oygür, I. (2018). The machineries of user knowledge production. Design Studies, 54, 23-49
Panke, S., Gaiser, B., & Werner, B. (2007). Evaluation as Impetus for Innovations in E-learning—Applying personas to
the design of community functions. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3(2), 179-190.
Pruitt, J., & Grudin, J. (2003, June). Personas: practice and theory. In Proceedings of the 2003 conference on Designing
for user experiences (pp. 1-15). ACM.
Rittel, H. W., & Webber, M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy sciences, 4(2), 155-169.
Sanders, E. B. N., & Stappers, P. J. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. Co-design, 4(1), 5-18.
Sharples, M., McAndrew, P., Weller, M., Ferguson, R., FitzGerald, E., Hirst, T., & Whitelock, D. et al. (2014). Innovating
pedagogy 2014. Milton Keynes, UK: The Open University.
Sharples, M., de Roock , R., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., Herodotou, C., Koh, E., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Looi, C-K,
McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Weller, M., Wong, L. H. (2016). Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation
Report 5. Milton Keynes: The Open University
Wrigley, C., & Straker, K. (2017). Design thinking pedagogy: The educational design ladder. Innovations in Education
and Teaching International, 54(4), 374-385.
Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods. London, UK: SAGE Publications Ltd.
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 25-29, 2018
... The other core pillar of design thinking as a mind-set is the focus on human needs and the idea that the needs of this audience may be experienced [31]. The very first stage in design thinking is commonly championed by the word 'Empathy', which intrinsically heralds inclusivity and diversity [38]. By acknowledging diverse perspectives from interdisciplinary teams that include both traditionally prioritized and marginalized stakeholders, opportunities for generating fresh insights and new ideas are enhanced [39,40]. ...
... Arguably, with diversity of perspectives and priorities, disagreements are likely to arise [41]. However, design thinking encourages this confrontation of preconceived ideas and supports organizations to facilitate a comparatively open-minded approach to explore underlying pain points that may not be commonly realized or addressed [38]. Importantly, design thinking aids decision makers to not only reduce cognitive bias, but via the combination of empathy for the feelings and experiences of others with creativity and rationality, specific problem contexts may be analyzed, and appropriate solutions generated [33]. ...
Full-text available
This paper highlights the growing importance towards supporting Chinese Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in adopting pro-active and collaborative behaviors that stimulate sustainability initiatives. Equating to 90% of enterprises in the country and contributing towards 60% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), China’s SMEs are recognized for their willingness to engage in change, raising the potential for exploring and embarking on new ventures. This paper proposes that a design thinking mind-set, rooted in empathic stakeholder dialogue, conceptually supports SMEs to engage with the increasingly complex challenges that envelop China’s society, culture, economy, and environment. Discussion emphasizes that proactively including and responding to the various and ambiguous needs of stakeholders leads to increased opportunity for innovation and new ways of thinking, both being vital for sustainable and responsible growth. Equally, the questions of whom to empathize with and how should SMEs empathize are postulated as roadblocks to the adoption of design thinking in SMEs. This paper proposes a model for addressing those challenges.
... The method lacks elements for turning ideas into accepted solution: "This is where the individual disciplines come in (among them: designers, organizational experts, HR professionals), with the knowledge and skills to fill a new idea with life and to implement it in a company" (Grots & Creuznacher, 2016, p. 192). Similarly, Panke and Harth (2018) observed that it was unclear for participants in a design thinking workshop on inclusive community development how to move from the ideas generated in the design thinking process to the development of innovative, marketable products and services. ...
... Idea creation over evaluation: Panke and Harth (2018) observed that particularly in a short workshop format there is not enough time to fully investigate and explore ideas. The case study evaluated a one-day format, and noted that it lacked the opportunity to research whether the imagined solutions already existed, and whether they made sense. ...
Full-text available
The article discusses design thinking as a process and mindset for collaboratively finding solutions for wicked problems in a variety of educational settings. Through a systematic literature review the article organizes case studies, reports, theoretical reflections, and other scholarly work to enhance our understanding of the purposes, contexts, benefits, limitations, affordances, constraints, effects and outcomes of design thinking in education. Specifically, the review pursues four questions: (1) What are the characteristics of design thinking that make it particularly fruitful for education? (2) How is design thinking applied in different educational settings? (3) What tools, techniques and methods are characteristic for design thinking? (4) What are the limitations or negative effects of design thinking? The goal of the article is to describe the current knowledge base to gain an improved understanding of the role of design thinking in education, to enhance research communication and discussion of best practice approaches and to chart immediate avenues for research and practice.
... As for design thinking, in the case of the Ban Bu community here discussed, the empathised process was adopted during the initial interviews, as the researchers familiarise themselves with the community; then, the community helped define the nature of the problems and issues they had, therefore indirectly contributing to ideate the prototype model, which would contribute to solve their problems. Therefore, design thinking, especially as consultation and development of models based on community input, can be an effective tool in developing a dialogue between stakeholders, since the process of visualisation helps to provide a tangible element for discussion, as has happened in other cases and situations [161][162][163][164][165]. It also helps to fully understand the flexible elements of the model/prototype, which can be adjusted depending on the input of the various discussants. ...
Full-text available
This research focuses on community development and ways in which community members can express their opinions and maintain well-being. However, in many contexts, these voices have been enfeebled through top-down approaches, lack of a concrete scenario, and attention to community problems, all of which are frequently associated with prejudices based on social status, education, or gender. For the first time within an urban context, the Ban Bu/Wat Suwannaram community in Bangkok, Thailand, has been given the opportunity to voice their opinions about the community, the direction it should take, and the overall improvement to be made, without the constriction of external authorities. This study applies design thinking, which despite being one of the major trends in business over the last couple of decades, is not generally used to address social issues. Since design thinking requires data collection and the creation of a model/prototype, two complementary procedures are employed. Firstly, the community is studied through observation and interviews, which helped creating a SWOT analysis to identify its potential and facilitate an informal discussion with members of the local community on the situation before urbanisation loosened community ties. After this initial stage, a prototype for various areas of community development is discussed in a community workshop to enable participants to offer their opinions on how the community could develop further. The results reveal the aspirations of the local community towards improving social and environmental issues.
... Inclusive urban environments are defined as ones that 'simplify life for everyone' (Vavik & Keitsch, 2010, p. 297); in other words, they are places where all users comfortably, effectively, and safely carry on their daily activities (Hanson, 2004) regardless of age and ability (Burton & Mitchell, 2006;Haider, 2007). The design of inclusive environments is a complex process (Rebernik et al., 2019) that embraces the functional needs of all users without discrimination based on any background information (Lukman et al., 2014;Panke & Harth, 2019). Furthermore, creating inclusive environments relies on situated information about the users' needs through collaboration in which citizens are accepted as 'local experts', who produce the data about how they use the city (Hasler, 2017), by positioning them as part of the decision-making team (Lukman et al., 2014). ...
Full-text available
One of the under-represented groups in participatory urban research is very young children (0-3 years old). Very young children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods , particularly in global cities, such as Istanbul, often have to negotiate unfriendly urban spaces in their daily routines. These routines consist of intertwined events of caregivers and children, as care duties of caregivers frame their joint daily lives. Based on questionnaires and participatory mapping with full-time mothers from Istanbul, we argue that a compact design of neighbourhoods, which merges public spaces relevant to families with young children in combined destinations, is critical towards creating inclusive urban environments. K E Y W O R D S caregivers, children's geographies, inclusive urban environments, participation, young children This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
... With the use of DT tool in a constructivist approach, design students would have the appropriate design platform to explore the problem space with a level of motivation, to be more accommodative of other competing ideas, and to become more innovative (Renard 2014;Panke and Harth 2019). Evidently, the above findings indicate that the DT mechanism could helpinstill motivation to think creativelyinto design students that makes them become highly motivated in the design process. ...
Full-text available
This paper exploring the impact of the utilization of Design Thinking tool in facilitating the development of a group of design undergraduates’ creativity skills and motivation to think creatively. This study used a qualitative approach based on open-ended face-to-face interviews. A group of 55 design undergraduates from a Malaysian university was recruited, who were equally divided into 11 design teams, with each team having to solve the problems faced by alocal community. A stratified sampling method was employed to choose two members from each group, totaling 22 students as the interviewees. In the interviews, open endedquestionwas asked to probe their experience on how Design Thinking had facilitated their creative thinking and motivation to be creative. The qualitative analysis of the interview data revealed that the Design Thinking approach helped the design students to be both creative and highly motivated, thus enabling them to propose and develop practical, innovative designs. Clearly, such findings suggest that both factors are intimately linked with one another. The study shows that it is important for design educators to utilize the Design Thinking learning strategy to synergize the creative skills and motivationto be creative especially in design education in developing competent, responsible future designers who able to serve the society more effectively.
... As in previous workshops (cf. Panke & Harth, 2018), participants felt they did not have enough time to fully flesh out and further develop their ideas. There were important ideas for improvement on how to secure the results, how to support deeper reflections, and allow room for individual note taking:  Solutions stayed on the surface, I would have liked more in-depth discussions. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The paper discusses design thinking as a conceptual framework and methodological approach for empowering the teaching agency of STEM students who are preparing for a career as vocational school teachers. Our pilot study, a workshop on curriculum development, lesson planning and instructional techniques with engineering students, reflects the specific traits and current challenges of vocational education in the German dual mode system. We analyze and reflect upon the conceptual development, facilitation and evaluation of the workshop. We give a detailed overview of workshop concept, workshop results and workshop evaluation data. Practitioners and researchers alike will find this article a valuable source for contemplating the effectiveness of design thinking in teacher education. While our case study is situated in the particular context of preparing future vocational school teachers within the German education system, the resulting concepts are applicable to other populations. Design thinking can enrich teacher education by allowing students with little prior teaching experience and career changers to experience their agency as inventors in the classroom laboratory, thus creating both excitement and appreciation for the art of teaching.
Full-text available
Design thinking comprises an approach to problem solving that uses tools traditionally utilized by designers of commercial products, processes, and environments (e.g., designing a new car or the layout of a new airport). While design thinking was originally introduced as an approach that would work best when infused into the culture of an organization, most early studies of design thinking focused on identifying the specific tools and methods that might be used to solve management problems. Only recently have researchers examined how the implementation of design thinking might relate to organizational-level constructs, such as organizational culture. In this review, we examine empirical research (mostly from the past decade) that relates the practice of design thinking to the development of culture in organizations. Through this review, we identify how the use of specific design thinking tools supports the development of specific organizational cultures and vice versa. In addition, we identify how using design thinking tools produces emotional experiences and physical artifacts that help users to understand why and how specific cultures support the effective use of specific tools. Together, our review findings suggest that the experiential nature of design thinking tools and cultures (i.e., that they require people to actively engage in hands-on work) allows them to support one another. On the basis of this insight, we develop a general framework for organizing design thinking research and identify a number of avenues for future research that might advance our understanding of design thinking in organizational contexts.
Full-text available
Designers have been moving increasingly closer to the future users of what they design and the next new thing in the changing landscape of design research has become co-designing with your users. But co-designing is actually not new at all, having taken distinctly different paths in the US and in Europe. The evolution in design research from a user-centred approach to co-designing is changing the roles of the designer, the researcher and the person formerly known as the ‘user’. The implications of this shift for the education of designers and researchers are enormous. The evolution in design research from a user-centred approach to co-designing is changing the landscape of design practice as well, creating new domains of collective creativity. It is hoped that this evolution will support a transformation toward more sustainable ways of living in the future.
Full-text available
The term design thinking is increasingly used to mean the human-centred ‘open’ problem solving process decision makers use to solve real world ‘wicked’ problems. Claims have been made that design thinking in this sense can radically improve not only product innovation but also decision making in other fields, such as management, public health, and organizations in general. Many design and management schools in North America and elsewhere now include course offerings in design thinking though little is known about how successful these are with students. The lack of such courses in Australia presents an opportunity to design a curriculum for design thinking, employing design thinking's own practices. This paper describes the development of a design thinking course at Swinburne University taught simultaneously in Melbourne and Hong Kong. Following a pilot of the course in Semester 1, 2011 with 90 enrolled students across the two countries, we describe lessons learned to date and future course considerations as it is being taught in its second iteration.
Full-text available
Qualitative case study methodology provides tools for researchers to study complex phenomena within their contexts. When the approach is applied correctly, it becomes a valuable method for health science research to develop theory, evaluate programs, and develop interventions. The purpose of this paper is to guide the novice researcher in identifying the key elements for designing and implementing qualitative case study research projects. An overview of the types of case study designs is provided along with general recommendations for writing the research questions, developing propositions, determining the "case" under study, binding the case and a discussion of data sources and triangulation. To facilitate application of these principles, clear examples of research questions, study propositions and the different types of case study designs are provided.
A multiple case study was conducted to investigate the machineries of designers' user knowledge production at six design consultancies in the Northwestern USA in domains of architecture, industrial design, and interaction design. Karin Knorr Cetina's theory of epistemic cultures was utilised as the theoretical lens. The findings indicate that the user is not a given; instead, the user is a constructed phenomenon in design. The design process is characterised by the deconstruction and reconstruction of the user information and of experiential information, implemented to meet the epistemic needs of designers. User representations are used as the liminal knowledge. Designers manipulated this knowledge in order to narrow down the artefact to be designed.
“Design thinking” has generated significant attention in the business press and has been heralded as a novel problem-solving methodology well suited to the often-cited challenges business organizations face in encouraging innovation and growth. Yet the specific mechanisms through which the use of design, approached as a thought process, might improve innovation outcomes have not received significant attention from business scholars. In particular, its utility has only rarely been linked to the academic literature on individual cognition and decision-making. This perspective piece advocates addressing this omission by examining “design thinking” as a practice potentially valuable for improving innovation outcomes by helping decision-makers reduce their individual level cognitive biases. In this essay, I first review the assumptions, principles, and key process tools associated with design thinking. I then establish its foundation in the decision-making literature, drawing on an extensive body of research on cognitive biases and their impact. The essay concludes by advancing a set of propositions and research implications, aiming to demonstrate one particular path that future research might take in assessing the utility of design thinking as a method for improving organizational outcomes related to innovation. In doing so, it seeks to address the challenge of conducting academic research on a practice that is obviously popular in management circles but appears resistant to rigorous empirical inquiry because of the multifaceted nature of its “basket” of tools and processes and the complexity of measuring the outcomes it produces.
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
In our research project Collaborative Creativity of Development Processes in the IT Industry, we pursue the question how design thinking can help to enhance the innovativeness in IT development and which individual and organizational factors facilitate or encourage this. In this chapter, we outline what the contribution of design thinking to engineering thinking can be, how it is related to akin IT development approaches (e.g. agile development), and what our initial insights on the didactic and organizational implications are.