Design Thinking

Design thinking is a problem-solving process that has distinct phases. Many employers and innovation leaders believe this process leads to more creative solutions. Design thinking applies to a range of challenges, from addressing issues of poverty to designing better consumer products. At its core, design thinking embraces a mindset of questioning assumptions, testing ideas and learning about the "person" who will benefit from the solution. The Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) offers three stand-alone workshops to allow graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to practice design thinking as academics. Participants who complete all three workshops will receive a Design Thinking Certificate of Completion.

Read more about design thinking in this New Trail article by Justin Pritchard

Part 1: Building Collaboration

Build stronger collaborations with peers, supervisors or industry/community partners. Collaboration is fundamental to creativity and innovative solutions, and it is a skill valued by academic and non-academic employers alike.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define design thinking and list three key elements that support the distinct phases of the process.
  • Use appropriate questions and information to create a persona of the end-user. In this case, the persona will be from your academic program, such as a supervisor or advisor.
  • Practice the design-thinking mindset to support purposeful collaboration.

Next Session: TBD

Part 2: The Art of Generating Ideas

Tackle the challenge of work-life balance including problem clarification and statements, mind mapping and backwards design. Improve your creative problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use two idea generation techniques, including mapping and backward design, to create possible solutions for a work-life balance challenge.
  • Practice the design-thinking mindset to support creative problem-solving.

Next Session: TBD

Part 3: Journey Mapping

Gain new insights as you systematically outline the steps of your academic journey from beginning to end. Journey mapping can uncover innovation opportunities while contributing to the enhancement of the overall graduate student and postdoctoral scholar experience. Innovation skills and creative confidence are valued by academic and non-academic employers alike.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use the journey mapping technique to uncover insights and opportunities to improve the overall graduate student experience.
  • Practice the design-thinking mindset to support innovation skills.

Next Session: TBD

Contact us

For questions regarding the Design Thinking series and other professional development inquiries, contact:

Renee Polziehn, PhD

Director of Professional Development

Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies