Future designers need to be able to navigate within a shifting economic, social, cultural and technological landscape. Communication and design problems are becoming increasingly complex and are often part of larger systems. Meeting global challenges such as climate change and an aging population will require designers and design graduates to engage in these complex problems and become ‘problem finders’. In the context of undergraduate communication design education typically focusing on creating employable ‘problem solvers’ rather than ‘problem finders’, it raises the question; to what extent can design thinking facilitate the education of designers who are able to meet future design and communication challenges? This paper describes the implementation of design thinking into an undergraduate media design learning environment. Over a period of two years, the effectiveness of the design thinking process and the extent to which students were able to develop a design mind-set that involved problem-finding and was solution-focused were investigated. Furthermore, benefits and challenges encountered by participants were explored. This research was conducted applying a pragmatic approach. Quantitative and qualitative findings from two trials are presented.
|Keywords:||Design Thinking, Undergraduate Design Education, Design Future Focus|
Senior Lecturer, School of Creative Arts, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia