5 phases of design thinking

Empathize: Gather information from users In action: Fourth-graders in Colorado solicited ideas from local residents to help their city redesign a local park.

Define: Frame the problem In action: Administrators in Glenbrook High Schools District 225 considered student experience when redesigning classrooms. They chose furniture that let learners move around.

Ideate: Generate possible solutions that meet users’ needs In action: Students in Colorado’s St. Vrain Valley Schools have created biodegradable drinking straws, habitats for honeybees, and soccer balls for people who are blind.

Link to main story: Design thinking in education

Prototype: Build your solution In action: Students following Northwestern University’s FUSE curriculum in their home districts have designed houses, roller coasters and cars—and become the subject matter experts along the way.

Test: Gather feedback, then refine or look for alternatives In action: The Glenbrook district went through four rounds of testing different classroom designs before choosing a solution.

Source: Stanford’s d.school

Abby Spegman is a freelance writer in Washington.

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