91 episodes

Design Thinking 101: Learning, Leading, and Applying Design Thinking

Design Thinking 101 helps listeners learn about design-driven innovation, connect design thinking to strategy and action, and explore learning from challenges overcome while applying design thinking and related innovation approaches.

You'll hear design practitioners' stories, lessons, ideas, resources, and tips. Our guests share insights on how to deliver results with design thinking in business, social innovation, education, design, government, healthcare and other fields.

Design Thinking 101 Dawan Stanford

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 31 Ratings

Design Thinking 101: Learning, Leading, and Applying Design Thinking

Design Thinking 101 helps listeners learn about design-driven innovation, connect design thinking to strategy and action, and explore learning from challenges overcome while applying design thinking and related innovation approaches.

You'll hear design practitioners' stories, lessons, ideas, resources, and tips. Our guests share insights on how to deliver results with design thinking in business, social innovation, education, design, government, healthcare and other fields.

    Design + Afrofuturism + Doomsday Optimism with Raja Schaar — DT101 E91

    Design + Afrofuturism + Doomsday Optimism with Raja Schaar — DT101 E91

    Raja Schaar is an industrial designer, afrofuturist and doomsday optimist. She is the Director at Drexel University's product design program and co-chair of the Industrial Designers Society of America, Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council.
    Listen to learn about:
    Raja’s career in design Climate change and design How Raja uses science fiction and futurism in her teaching and work Black Girls STEAMing Through Dance Social Impact Design The power of design Media resources for designers wanting to explore future-thinking  
    Our Guest
    Raja Schaar, IDSA (she/her) is Director and Associate Professor of the Product Design Program at Drexel University’s Westphal Collage of Media Arts and Design. She co-chairs IDSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council is the past Education Director for the organization. Raja studies the ethical implications of design and technology through the lenses of speculative design and climate change. Her current projects address biases maternal health through wearable technology and participatory design; community-based co-design for engaging black girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM/STEAM; and generating frameworks and tools to embed Afrofuturism, biomimicry, sustainability, and climate justice into Design praxis. 
     
    Show Highlights
    [02:09] Raja takes us on a fun trip through her childhood “what do you want to be when you grow up?” dreams.
    [05:47] STEM and creativity.
    [06:24] How Raja ended up going into industrial design in college.
    [09:03] The interdisciplinary design class that changed everything.
    [11:37] Diving into materials life cycles and sustainability in her junior year.
    [13:31] Why Raja got angry at her major and wanting to change the way we do design.
    [16:37] Volunteering at a science museum and discovering a love of exhibition design.
    [17:22] Replacing the museum’s carpet tile introduced Raja to Interface, Inc. and their sustainable modular carpet system.
    [19:28] Product design can be ethical and sustainable and conscientious of its environmental impact.
    [20:38] Creating a conceptual project for the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.
    [21:13] Graduate school and studying critical pedagogies and looking at new ways of teaching rooted in social change.
    [21:59] How Raja got into teaching.
    [23:52] Raja talks about some of the design challenges she’s passionate about right now.
    [24:03] Climate change.
    [24:34] Economic accessibility and inclusion.
    [24:50] Usability.
    [25:27] Social impact design.
    [26:00] Who has access to the power of design?
    [28:00] Raja’s mission to open the doors of design to young black girls.
    [28:40] What Raja loves about design.
    [30:06] The true power of design.
    [31:14] Founding Black Girls STEAMing Through Dance at Drexel.
    [32:37] Looking at the effects of climate change on communities of color worldwide.
    [35:01] Science fiction and speculative design in Raja’s work.
    [35:18] Everybody’s a futurist.
    [36:14] Raja’s love of science fiction came from her parents.
    [37:08] Reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in an engineering ethics class.
    [40:25] There’s a lot to learn from science fiction’s futurist thinking.
    [41:41] Using ideas from science fiction in her work on climate change.
    [44:54] Raja calls herself a “doomsday optimist.”
    [49:35] Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.
    [53:25] Looking at the world through the eyes of black women.
    [58:14] The connection between science fiction and speculative design.
    [58:41] Designing the future.
    [1:01:10] Speculative design allows us to ask deep questions.
    [1:01:46] The Keurig K-Cup example.
    [1:04:35] Speculating and futuring has to be part of how we teach and learn.
    [1:05:07] The importance of reflecting on our own design decisions and their potential future consequences.
    [1:06:36] Books and resources Raja recommends for those wanting to explore...
    [1:07:07] Climate change.
    [1:15:25] The role of technology in society.
    [1:16:19] Netflix’s docume

    • 1 hr 51 min
    Lego Serious Play + Creating Together + Designing for Being with Jane Hession and Ronan Healy — DT101 E90

    Lego Serious Play + Creating Together + Designing for Being with Jane Hession and Ronan Healy — DT101 E90

    Dr. Jane Hession and Ronan Healy are the founders of How Might We, a service design studio in Ireland. We talk about Lego Serious Play, creating together, and designing for being.
     
    Listen to learn about:
    The importance of giving adults permission to be playful The LEGO Serious Play method  How LEGO Serious Play can unlock creativity and innovation The changing view of the workplace and how teams work post-COVID-19 Design for Being philosophy  
    Our Guests
    Dr. Jane Hession and Ronan Healy are co-founders of How Might We, an Irish Service Design studio that facilitates meaningful conversations to improve employee and customer experiences.
    At the very core of their studio’s capability is the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method. They LEGO Serious Play to make service design and systems thinking more accessible to organisations.
    Ronan and Jane believe the LEGO Serious Play method has untapped potential in the corporate world and they see great potential for its usage.
     
    Show Highlights
    [01:24] Ronan and Jane talk about their very different career paths into service design.
    [05:32] Moving home to Ireland after living in Australia and founding their studio.
    [07:04] The How Might We studio and its services.
    [09:44] An introduction to the LEGO Serious Play method.
    [10:37] The role listening plays in How Might We’s workshops.
    [10:58] The need for bravery and vulnerability in managers wanting to use Lego Serious Play.
    [11:44] The importance of play.
    [14:01] LEGO Serious Play encourages marginalized team members to speak up and share ideas.
    [15:07] The three-step process Jane and Ronan start their workshops with.
    [17:45] How LEGO Serious Play taps into our innate curiosity.
    [18:21] Play as a prehistoric survival mechanism.
    [19:33] The way in which Legos draw people into the experience.
    [20:18] Jane offers thoughts on ways organizations can use LEGO Serious Play.
    [20:44] COVID-19 is changing the way teams work and our ideas about the workplace.
    [23:33] Using LEGO Serious Play with systems thinking and design.
    [27:02] Embodied cognition.
    [30:16] LEGO Serious play creates a social environment.
    [31:31] Play vs playfulness.
    [32:37] LEGO Serious Play as an extension of the mind.
    [33:21] Ronan talks about the coherent communication that happens in a LEGO Serious Play session.
    [34:27] Prototyping ideas using LEGO Serious Play.
    [37:13] Having a physical object to play with can help teams better grasp the system they are working with, and subsequently ask better questions about the problem they are trying to solve.
    [39:57] LEGO Serious Play democratizes the design process and levels organizational hierarchies.
    [41:30} Jane and Ronan talk about how they work with clients.
    [47:31] Designing for being.
    [55:29] Complex Responsive Processes Thinking.
    [56:12] LEGO Serious Play is open source.
    [57:00] Be Brave and Play.
     
    Links
    Dr. Jane Hession on LinkedIn
    Ronan Healy on LinkedIn
    Ronan Healy on Twitter
    How Might We website
    How Might We on Twitter
    How Might We on Instagram
    How Might We on LinkedIn
    Listen Notes: Dr. Jane Hession and Ronan Healy, The Power of Play
    Lego Serious Play applications to enhance creativity in participatory design
    Threshhold Concepts, LEGO Serious Play and whole systems thinking: towards a combined methodology
    An Introduction to Complex Responsive Process: Theory and Implications for Organizational Change Initiatives
    Ralph Stacey on complex responsive processes of relating at the Complexity and Management Conference
     
     
    Other Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like
    Collaboration + Facilitation + Workshops with Austin Govella — DT101 E83
    A Designer's Journey into Designing for Health and Healthcare with Lorna Ross — DT101 E45
    Mapping and Service Design + Implementation + Accessibility with Linn Vizard — DT101 E17

    • 58 min
    Protect Your Solutions with Transformation Stories: Part 1 — Crafting Well // ALD 010 — DT101 E89

    Protect Your Solutions with Transformation Stories: Part 1 — Crafting Well // ALD 010 — DT101 E89

    Thank you for listening to this Ask Like a Designer episode of the Design Thinking 101 Podcast.
    This episode shows you everything you need to create your solution’s transformation story (and why it’s so important to do so).
    This episode is based on this article: ALD010 // Protect Your Solutions with Transformation Stories: Part 1 — Crafting Well. Read the article and others like it on Fluid Hive’s Ask Like a Designer.
    In these short Ask Like a Designer episodes on the Design Thinking 101 podcast, you’ll find new ways to explore the show’s stories and ideas about design-driven innovation. I’ll share methods, templates, and ideas that have worked in my practice in teaching.
    What did you think of this episode? Please send your questions, suggestions, and guest ideas to Dawan and the Fluid Hive team.
    Cheers ~ Dawan
    Design Thinking 101 Podcast Host
    President, Fluid Hive 
     
    Show Highlights
    [00:56] Why we need stories.
    [01:27] What is a transformation story?
    [01:33] The magic bridge.
    [02:14] Storytelling neglect.
    [02:43] We tell stories all through the design process.
    [03:51] The transformation story creation pattern.
    [04:07] The people.
    [04:45] The problem.
    [05:19] Influence.
    [05:27] Using the COM-B behavior change model.
    [06:47] Bridges, the heart of the transformation story.
    [07:38] Evidence.
    [08:09] Solution outcomes.
    [08:45] Destination: a better world.
    [09:27] Fluid Hive’s Transformation Story Questions.
    [11:08]  This Ask Like a Designer Thinking Tool download will help you use the transformation story questions.
     
    Other Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like
    Ask Like a Designer — DT101 E61
    Design, and One Question to Rule Them All // ALD 002 — DT101 E63
    There Are No Problems Worth Solving — Only Questions Worth Asking // ALD 003 — DT101 E65 
    Your Good-Life OS: Designing a System for Living Well and Peak Performance // ALD 004 — DT101 E67
    The Swiss-Army Lives of How-Might-We Questions // ALD 005 — DT 101 E69 
    Designing Facilitation: A System for Creating and Leading Exceptional Events // ALD 006 — DT101 E73
    The Innovation Saboteur’s Handbook // ALD 007 – DT101 E77
    Three Little Words for Better (Business) Relationships // ALD 008 — DT101 E79
    The 30-Minute Solution Matrix: How to Think and Solve Under Pressure // ALD 009 — DT101 E87

    • 11 min
    User Research + Asking Better Questions with Michele Ronsen — DT101 E88

    User Research + Asking Better Questions with Michele Ronsen — DT101 E88

    Michele Ronsen is the founder of Curiosity Tank, a leading user research consultancy and educational institution, helping individuals and organizations learn how to ask better questions, conduct research, and make better decisions around the world.
     
    Listen to learn about:
    The benefits of user research to designers User research skills Quantitative vs qualitative research Curiosity Tank’s six-workshop series, Ask Like a Pro Where user research is headed  
    Our Guest
    Michele Ronsen is an executive with 20 years of experience in Fortune 500s, academia, and start-ups. A professionally trained graphic designer, Michele worked at top design firms before moving to Nordstrom where she built two creative teams from the ground up. From there, she built a career helping numerous entities strategically design and grow their businesses.
    In 2010, Michele founded Ronsen Consulting, a design and strategy firm specialized in human-centered research and development. In 2020, she founded Curiosity Tank to further expand the team's research consulting and education efforts. Recent clients include Slack, Zillow, Blue Shield of California, Xero, Facebook, Gusto, Invisalign, Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente.
    Michele has inspired hundreds of students and professionals at UC Berkeley, the California College of the Arts, the Academy of Art University, and General Assembly teaching design, research and strategy classes and workshops.
     
    Show Highlights
    [00:33] Drawing the gear inside the McDonald’s sign and how Michele’s father taught her and her brother to ask how and why instead of what and when.
    [02:14] Michele’s first career in graphic design and as a creative and design director.
    [02:56] How conducting ethnographies helped Michele fall in love with user research.
    [04:47] Michele talks about the user research skillset.
    [07:02] Michele reminisces on her design process before she knew more about user research.
    [09:18] Advice for organizations that want to do more qualitative research.
    [10:37] The value of qualitative research.
    [12:09] The Moccasins Project at the California College of the Arts.
    [14:20] How Michele starts the process of working with clients.
    [16:05] Curiosity Tank’s Ask Like a Pro workshop series helps people level-up their user research skills.
    [20:18] Ensuring user research makes it into the product or service starts in the planning phase.
    [22:05] Getting stakeholder buy-in right from the beginning.
    [23:24] The problem space and the opportunity space.
    [26:19] User research trends and the future of user research.
    [26:49] The surprising way the pandemic changed the trajectory of user research.
    [29:48] Thoughts and advice for those wanting to learn more about user research.
    [29:58] Open versus closed questions.
    [31:48] Having a curious mindset is key to becoming a great researcher.
     
    Links
    Michele on LinkedIn
    Michele on General Assembly
    Ronsen Consulting LLC
    Curiosity Tank
    Wild Business Growth Podcast: Curiosity Tank, How to Ask Better Questions
    Happy Market Research podcast: How the key to Asking Better Questions is Tied to Developing Better Listening Skills and What you can do About it
    Breaking into User Research
    How to start a UX research project
    Breaking into UX Research 
     
    Other Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like
    Problem Spaces, Understanding How People Think, and Practical Empathy with Indi Young — DT101 E6
     
    Understanding Customers: Research, Insights, and Storytelling with Steve Portigal — DT101 E48
     
    Trauma-Informed Design + Participatory Design Perils + Research with Vulnerable Populations with Sarah Fathallah — DT101 E72

    • 35 min
    The 30-Minute Solution Matrix: How to Think and Solve Under Pressure // ALD 009 — DT101 E87

    The 30-Minute Solution Matrix: How to Think and Solve Under Pressure // ALD 009 — DT101 E87

    Thank you for listening to this Ask Like a Designer episode of the Design Thinking 101 Podcast.
    This episode is about what to do when you need to solve like a designer FAST.
    This episode is based on this article: ALD009 // The 30-Minute Solution Matrix: How to Think and Solve Under Pressure. Read the article and others like it on Fluid Hive’s Ask Like a Designer.
    In these short Ask Like a Designer episodes on the Design Thinking 101 podcast, you’ll find new ways to explore the show’s stories and ideas about design-driven innovation. I’ll share methods, templates, and ideas that have worked in my practice in teaching.
    What did you think of this episode? Please send your questions, suggestions, and guest ideas to Dawan and the Fluid Hive team.
    Cheers ~ Dawan
    Design Thinking 101 Podcast Host
    President, Fluid Hive
     
    Show Highlights
    [00:56] Thinking and solving like a designer when in crisis mode.
    [01:06] Fluid Hive’s 30-Minute Solution Matrix: nine questions that can help you solve quickly.
    [02:19] How to use the 30-Minute Solution Matrix.
    [02:41] Learning gaps.
    [02:58] Be ready to adjust and change your answers as you learn more.
    [03:11] What problem are you trying to solve?
    [03:51] Who is the solution for?
    [04:26] Who is making the solution?
    [04:48] What systems are involved?
    [05:27] What evidence do you have?
    [05:56] What do you need to learn?
    [06:44] What solution might you try right now?
    [07:53] How might you build this solution?
    [08:35] How will you know it worked?
    [08:55] “Cheating” design.
    [09:49] Fluid Hive’s 30-Minute Solution Matrix is a free Ask Like a Designer Thinking Tooll you can download.
    Design Thinking 101 Learning — Courses and More
    Design Thinking 101 Learning helps people learn, lead and apply design-driven innovation. Each training course focuses on a different collection of actions and skills critical to using design thinking effectively and getting the results you seek.
     
    Please join me in the first course, Design Thinking 101 — Framing: Creating Better Solutions by Finding More Valuable Problems to Solve. 
     
    Each course is structured to help your innovation actions create what you need for the people you serve, your organization and yourself.
    Other Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like
    Ask Like a Designer — DT101 E61
    Design, and One Question to Rule Them All // ALD 002 — DT101 E63
    There Are No Problems Worth Solving — Only Questions Worth Asking // ALD 003 — DT101 E65
     
    Your Good-Life OS: Designing a System for Living Well and Peak Performance // ALD 004 — DT101 E67
    The Swiss-Army Lives of How-Might-We Questions // ALD 005 — DT 101 E69
    Designing Facilitation: A System for Creating and Leading Exceptional Events // ALD 006 — DT101 E73
    The Innovation Saboteur’s Handbook // ALD 007 – DT101 E77
    Three Little Words for Better (Business) Relationships // ALD 008 — DT101 E79

    • 9 min
    Seeing, reframing, and pursuing problems with Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg — E86

    Seeing, reframing, and pursuing problems with Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg — E86

    Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg is the author of What’s Your Problem and coauthor of Innovation as Usual. We talk about problem reframing, developing innovation skills, and the power of thinking deeply about problems.
     
    Listen to learn about:
    Framing and reframing problems Helping teams and companies to change their approach to problem-solving Thomas’ books Advice for companies and individuals wanting to learn problem reframing A shortcoming in design thinking tools The future of innovation and problem framing Some hints about Thomas’ new book-in-progress  
    Our Guest
    Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg is the author of "What's Your Problem," published by Harvard Business Review Press. He works with companies all over the world to help them solve the right problems. HIs first book was "Innovation as Usual," coauthored with Paddy Miller, focusing on how to drive innovation as part of an everyday job. He was born in Denmark and is now based in New York.
     
    Show Highlights
    [01:19] How a failure led Thomas into a collaboration with a professor from his business school.
    [01:50] Observing what happened to business innovation advice taught in school and how it played out in the real world.
    [02:39] Co-authoring “Innovation as Usual” with Paddy Miller.
    [03:54] Thomas talks about what led him to write “What’s Your Problem.”
    [07:00] Mistakes people make when framing, and re-framing, problems.
    [08:15] The slow elevator problem.
    [11:11] The importance of the people’s perspective when looking at the problem space.
    [13:28] The mental shift of having the answer to finding the answer.
    [15:05] Thomas’ advice to companies wanting to do better when it comes to finding and framing problems.
    [16:13] Two critical things a team needs when starting to incorporate reframing in their work.
    [19:09] Thomas asks Dawan to talk about his use and emphasis of the question, “What problem are you trying to solve?”
    [20:56] Problems that arise when a company starts solving the wrong problem.
    [22:09] Solving the right problem and reframing also works for internal problems.
    [24:54] Problems change over time.
    [27:23] A problem by any other name is still a problem.
    [29:27] Thomas shares a story about PayPal.
    [31:49] Thomas talks about the future of problem-solving and innovation.
    [34:28] One thing Thomas discovered while developing his workshop.
    [35:09] The question storming method.
    [36:31] Thomas points out a shortcoming of current design thinking tools.
    [38:27] Advice for those wanting to develop their problem framing and questioning skills.
    [39:33] Books and resources Thomas recommends and that have influenced his work.
    [42:15] Thomas gives some hints about the book he’s working on now.
    [42:28] Thomas asks Dawan to recommend resources that he really likes and that influenced him.
    [44:14] The success of “What’s Your Problem.”
    [46:03] Where to find out more about Thomas and his work.
    [47:01] Why Thomas says he’s like a truffle-sniffing pig, and how it’s similar to problem reframing.
    [47:49] “Thought leadership” is the topic of the book Thomas is writing now.
     
    Links
    Thomas on Twitter
    Thomas on LinkedIn
    Thomas’ website
    How to Reframe
    Reframing: How to Solve the Right Problems
    What’s Your Problem? Big Idea Webinar
    The Secret to Better Problem Solving, HBR IdeaCast
    Are You Solving the Right Problems?
    Reframing Problems To Solve Tough Issues
    Jeanne Liedtka 
    Book Recommendation:
    Innovation as Usual: How to Help Your People Bring Great Ideas to Life, by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
    What's Your Problem?: To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve, by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
    Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days, by Jessica Livingston
    How We Think, by John Dewey
    Creating Great Choices: A Leader's Guide to Integrative Thinking, by Jennifer Riel and Roger Martin
    Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
     
    O

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

Burkejames ,

Practical and engaging

Full disclosure: I have known Dawan for a good while and his many positive qualities shine in these podcasts.

He is unfailingly kind and supportive in his solo or interview podcasts. The information is always engaging, practical, and immediately useful.

Highly recommended.

Bill in Pgh ,

Great interviews that step beyond “101”

This is an excellent podcast that at this point has a long archive of episodes worth listening to. The host and guests frame the information in ways that are inviting to newcomers to Design Thinking, but that also progressively step farther from “101-level” information into deeper advice that benefits regular practitioners of DT.

Arlie K ,

Fantastic insights!

Dawan is doing some really outstanding work here! Design Thinking 101 has quickly become a favorite, with engaging conversations and actionable insights at every turn. Highly recommend giving it a listen!

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