Diving In: Rapid-Cycle Design Thinking Challenges


What is a rapid cycle design thinking challenge?

A rapid cycle design thinking challenge is an immersive activity designed to give a full cycle experience with the design thinking process in a short time. Facilitators have the opportunity to touch on all of the phases, mindsets and values at a high level, without going in depth on any single portion.

We center our rapid cycle design thinking challenges on an experience that is familiar to all participants. Using an everyday experience provides the opportunity to evoke emotion, immediate connection and a personal starting point.


How learners benefit

In our work with people of all ages and stages – elementary and secondary school students, educators, for- and non-profit staff, families, community partners – we find that all learners benefit from becoming actively engaged in the learning experience rather than hearing about it from a formal lecturer or trainer.

So, we provide opportunities in each workshop or session we do to try things out, work through a new skill or strategy, communicate actively as learning occurs and engage participants in creating their personal growth. This is most satisfying for us as facilitators and for participants as learners – and leads to meaningful, applicable, and valuable outcomes.


Sample rapid cycle design thinking challenges

  • Redesign the first or last day of school for a partner.
  • Redesign the morning experience for a partner.
  • Design a way to work more effectively with community learning partners.
  • Design a way for a person to be identified as a member of your learning community.


Resources to help you get started

HFLI Rapid Cycle Design Thinking Challenge Booklet
HFLI Rapid Cycle Design Challenge Prototyping Supply List

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