Design Thinking

In design thinking, you keep the user at the center of the process, which means having empathy for their experience. At the core of this process is making…

Stanford’s and IDEO are where it’s at when it comes to design thinking, thanks in large part to David Kelley. That said, design thinking is for everyone and easy to implement. Here is their visual honeycomb that explains the key elements:

Design Thinking

The holds occasional intro to design thinking workshops that are free and open to the public. When I attended, we had fun redesigning a gift-giving experience for the person we were paired up with at the workshop. We used this worksheet packet that you could try as a way to build understanding at your next all-staff meeting.

Intro Resources

Design Thinking Bootcamp is a beginner’s guide for how to get down with design thinking.

Make Space: A book about designing spaces for innovation that work not just for users and students, but staff too!

IDEO U: Online courses about design thinking. I haven’t tried one of these yet, so if you do, let me know how it goes…

Design Thinking for Educators: Yes! What it sounds like.

Design Thinking for Libraries: Download the 3-part toolkit for driving patron-centered design.

Design thinking is a creative approach, or a series of steps, that will help you design meaningful solutions for your library. It’s also a mindset, because you start to think like a designer, even if you aren’t one. Adopting a designer’s mindset enables you to see problems as opportunities and gives you confidence to start creating transformative solutions. — Design Thinking for Libraries


Design Thinking Comes of Age by Jon Kolko in Harvard Business Review. The whole September 2015 issue is dedicated to design thinking, especially as it relates to services, not just products.


EdTechLove (PDF) by Annette Diefenthaler. I attended Redesigning Ed Tech: A Human-Centered Panelstorm at in 2014. At the panel, they used these Mad Lib style letters to get the audience of educators, developers and policy makers talking. Yes, there was some venting, but in a way that kept everyone moving forward rather than getting stuck in their identities. This idea can be adapted for other stakeholders who want to find meaningful and productive ways to work together.