International Journal of Art & Design Education

Hands On, Hearts On, Minds On: Design Thinking within an Education Context (pages 190–202)

Volume 32.2   2013



Today the changing nature of design practice and the role of design within a widening domain indicate that the survival of design as a profession may depend less on traditional design education and more on responding strategically to contemporary changes, influenced by ethical and environmental issues as well as technological advancements. As a result, one of the challenges facing contemporary design educators today is how to prepare and educate design students in light of the expanding and shifting definitions of the profession as well as changes in social responsibilities. To this end, the article explores the nature of the design process by presenting a model of designing. Following from this, the inherent characteristics of design thinking are identified before discussing the application of design thinking within an education context. Reference is made to the lil'green box, a social innovation project by a final year Information Design student from the University of Pretoria. The scope of the article is limited and therefore only a single case study is presented. Nonetheless, the main argument that emerges from the case study is that in order to advance design research, focus must be placed on the design (problem solving) methodologies that are taught and subsequently employed by students as part of their design training.