Design Thinking Principles

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Design Thinking and Principles of Liberal Arts Felix Hadtstein University of Maastricht Abstract The modern world is characterized by rapidly changing technology. Technological progress permeates all aspects of modern life and the ability to adapt to new sets of challenges is a necessity for people entering the job market. It is estimated that thirty percent of US college graduates will be employed in a position that does not yet exist (Fong 2004). For the liberal arts to abide by its ideals and maintain relevancy, it may be necessary to integrate technological and scientific design with the interdisciplinary approach of liberal arts. The review discusses the merits of the “design thinking” approach, as a candidate to modernize the liberal…show more content…
He defined “design thinking” as a framework for thinking about problems beyond specific disciplines. Tim Brown in a Harvard Review article (2008) characterized “design thinking” as a methodology for innovation by direct observation of people’s needs. He identified the core principles of the “design thinking” approach of empathy, integrative thinking, optimism, experimentation, and collaboration. Empathy stresses the importance of identifying with multiple perspectives. Integrative thinking grasps the importance of negotiating between competing ideas and applying an interdisciplinary approach. Optimism highlights the ethos of potential, always seeking improvements. Experimentation describes the concept of regularly testing new ideas to try for radical change. Collaboration is the need to readily work with others across disciplines. While without context these principles are vague, their implementation within various programs shows parallels with the liberal arts. Conventional schools use a structured approach, of lessons and exams, guided by an expert professor. Design thinking requires students to be driven by self initiative with minimal intervention. The responsibility of learning lies on the student rather than the professor. The aim is to recondition learning to be more experimental and less fearful of mistakes. It strives to improve independence of thought and collaboration. The ideal of unrestrained pursuit of knowledge is well established as a tenet of the liberal arts. Knowledge, to some extent, is restrained by parameters of a worldly existence, what determines a worthy inquiry? Practical demands inform and encourage the pursuit of knowledge. The “design thinking” approach encourages innovation by providing
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