Connected education

Design Thinking

In literal translation, Design Thinking is a way of “thinking projects” and refers to a methodology of elaborating answers or solutions to complex questions or problems. Strongly used in the industry, especially in the technological innovation sector and by companies that aim to respond to the various needs of their customers, Design Thinking has become popular as a way of thinking and acting on complex challenges.

Increasingly, the principles and practices of Design Thinking occupy space in education, in line with several of the active learning methodologies, such as Project Based Learning and Problem Based Learning, assuming transdisciplinary and student protagonism and collaboration as elements — process key.

Design Thinking: History and applicability

As the Interaction Design Foundation presents, it is impossible to specify exactly who created or structured the Design Thinking methodology, since it was developed over time and by many hands, in a fruitful collaboration between various areas. of knowledge. As late as the 1960s, German professor and researcher Horst Rittel wrote and spoke extensively on the topic of problem-solving through design (or design), coining the term “wicked problems” to refer to complex problems that would require multiple forms of thinking and distinct and varied knowledge and skills.

Scientist and Nobel Prize winner Herbert A. Simon is also credited with a set of theoretical foundations published throughout the 1970s that strongly influenced Design Thinking, including the idea of rapid prototyping and observational testing. The 1980s, in turn, were marked by contributions that strengthened the theoretical bases and the functioning of the idea of thinking about complex problems from the point of view of design. In this journey, design migrated from the academic field to the industry, as a way of favoring technological innovation. Companies began to systematize design thinking, demarcating stages, processes, and tools that strengthened the work and the relationship with their customers.

David Kelley, professor, and researcher at Stanford University, in California, then took up the theme for the Academy, founding the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, which made Design Thinking the structuring basis of the curriculum and greatly supporting its popularizing beyond business and industry and influencing schools and teaching and learning methodologies for different educational levels around the globe.

Stages of Design Thinking at Solve for Tomorrow

Empathize and define

The proposal is to empathize not only with the end user but also with all project stakeholders, seeking to identify “the pains” (challenges, motivations, and frustrations) that the solution must deal with.


Originating in the field of research on creativity and the ability to consciously focus on divergent or convergent processes, the process of ideation concerns the development of various solutions to an initial challenge (defined in the previous steps), exploring multiple possibilities of response to the same problem.

Prototyping and testing

These are the prototypes that make ideas tangible and to assess their functionality and the quality of experience that they provide to the solution’s stakeholders, it is necessary to test them. Doing this, as in scientific work, is to ensure that they can respond to what was proposed as a solution, aiming at their efficiency and quality. In the process of building the prototype, the iteration takes place – the moment in which the feedback on the proposed solution is absorbed, seeking the best viable product at that moment.

Learn more on the Project Journey page and in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Design Thinking Toolkit, available in Suggested Materials.