Design thinking is a flexible framework for getting the most out of the creative process. It is used in the arts, in engineering, in the corporate world, and in social and civic spaces. You can use it in every subject with every age group. It works when creating digital content or when building things with duct tape and cardboard.
Although there are many models for design thinking, we have developed the student-friendly LAUNCH Cycle. Here’s how it works.
In the first phase, students look, listen, and learn.
The goal here is awareness. It might be a sense of wonder at a process or an awareness of a problem or a sense of empathy toward an audience.
Sparked by curiosity, students move to the second phase, where they ask tons of questions.
This leads to understanding the process or problem through an authentic research experience. They might conduct interviews or needs assessments, research articles, watch videos, or analyze data.
Students apply that newly acquired knowledge to potential solutions. In this phase, they navigate ideas. Here they not only brainstorm, but they also analyze ideas, combine ideas, and generate a concept for what they will create.
In this next phase, they create a prototype. It might be a digital work or a tangible product, a work of art or something they engineer. It might even be an action or an event or a system.
Next, they begin to highlight what’s working and fix what’s failing. The goal here is to view this revision process as an experiment full of iterations, where every mistake takes them closer to success.
Then, when it’s done, it’s ready to launch. In the launch phase, they send it to an authentic audience. They share their work with the world!