1.1 What is Design Thinking?

While definitions vary, “design thinking” is often viewed as both mindset and a method. As a mindset, it is a way of approaching challenges and problems like a designer. For example, perhaps you want to make your library space more welcoming. You decide to elicit opinions from your own youth community. By seeking a shared understanding of the people you serve, you are using a design-thinking mindset.

You don’t have to be a designer to use creative tools and find solutions!

Design thinking is also a method for generating and developing ideas that centers on being solutions-focused, action-oriented, and human-centered in creating better outcomes for people. Originating in Scandinavian design traditions, human-centered approaches, focus on gaining empathy, or a deep understanding of others. Using inspiration from those you design for and interact with, the design thinking process typically begins by assessing the needs of your community. You don’t have to be a designer to use creative tools and find solutions. Many fields such as Education have adopted these approaches to help young people develop such 21st century skills as creative thinking, experimentation, and collaboration.1


1: Design Thinking in Education: Empathy, Challenge, Discovery, and Sharing, by Susan Wise.