Design Thinking

projectHow Might We……?  This is the root of design thinking! Google “design thinking” and you’ll find as many versions and viewpoints as there are people,  and all of them inform our work.

At the core of all of them though, is the idea that design thinking is a process, undertaken by collaborative groups,in empathy with clients, to seek solutions to challenges. At the Westtown Science Institute, these things matter:


UNDERSTANDING the design challenge through immersion and research

OBSERVING by considering, watching, questioning and reflecting upon the individual, group or community

EMPATHY for the client that grows from understanding and observing as we begin to brainstorm solutions. We always want to answer How Might We……? with the client in mind.

IDEATION is massive brainstorming in groups, using empathy, to begin to seeks answers to the challenge. Taking risks, being open and nonjudgmental, dreaming big and expecting others to build on your ideas are all a part of idealization. This is where we make a menu of solutions to explore!

PROTOTYPING begins as we narrow down our team choices and build out answers. Agility, flexibility, quick and simple builds and diverse physical and mapping models all lead us to the next phase of testing. expect to make many prototypes to see which ones hold promise!

TESTING  is when we take our first protoypes and put them through measurements of impact and success. Everything you’ve done before in the design thinking process informs this phase, and if you’re doing it right, you’ll find that it’s time to circle back and repeat the process as you focus in like a laser on final solutions. Failing fast and often, with each failure lead to more learning, is the key!


BEING HUMAN-CENTERED:  the most innovative thinking and designing comes from thoughtful intentions and informed understanding. Make people your inspiration!

EMPATHY: seeking to fully know and understand what it is that will serve people (your clients) rather than creating solutions based on your own values

MINDFULNESS :  striving each moment to be aware of the process and how it’s going, for you, for others and for the process of creation itself. Expect to reflect, a lot, in your group about process!

PROTOTYPING CULTURE: being highly experimental, curious, and a builder who knows that failing is a pathway to learn more on the way to success. Responding to failure with more ideas and flexibility and resilience are key. With the strong team you are on, you’ll be great!

BIAS TOWARD ACTION: we spend a lot of time in discussion, but we want to move toward ACTION! Lots of times when we talk through things, or draw them on paper, or make a poster about it, we think it’s real. But…. time and experience will tell! ACTION lets us test real prototypes, engages our full selves, inspires new thinking, and helps build group consensus.

RADICAL COLLABORATION: is the idea, and commitment,  that diverse multidisciplinary team build more inspired and fully thoughtful and innovative solutions to challenges!