What is Design Thinking?

HFLI’s approach to redesigning how we learn includes Design Thinking, a creative problem solving approach that enables people to build skills for innovating, including the ability to think creatively, work collaboratively with others, and implement innovations. It provides a structured process for addressing challenges in all aspects of our lives.

HFLI, working with the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University (“the d.school”), has refined the Design Thinking process to explicitly develop young innovators and resourceful lifelong learners.

When integrated with core curriculum, Design Thinking makes creativity and innovation an integral part of the K-12 learning experience. Design problems and projects are woven into each area of academic instruction and students are challenged to apply the process to develop and test potential solutions. Through each Design Thinking Challenge cycle, students and their teachers learn to embrace experimentation and the ups and downs that are a part of the creative process. Learning is more compelling because students can see how core content is relevant to them and the world in which they live. HFLI developed the first K-12 curriculum in the U.S. that pairs work in core subjects with Design Thinking.

But Design Thinking can be used by learners of any age in communities and workplaces as well. We work with a range of organizations to help people be more innovative and creative in how they think and learn. Through their HFLI–led learning experiences, employees at Ford Motor Company, Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, Design West Michigan, Gleaners Community Food Bank, Usher’s New Look, University of Michigan-Dearborn and other organizations have developed new skills and mindsets, as well as emergent applications of this powerful process to persistent challenges.

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