The Design Thinking process begins with empathy. In order to determine the best solution, the designer has to first understand the experience of the user. Once the designer has fully empathized and understood the challenges faced by the potential user, it is time to define a user point of view that will inform the design. The next step in the process is to ideate--come up with a multitude of diverse possible solutions. In this stage, the sky is the limit! Once all possibilities have been explored, it is time to prototype or transform the ideas into a physical form. This is often the stage when students are able to utilize new subject specific knowledge or the variety of technological resources at their fingertips. Perhaps they will utilize a pulley or a simple machine in the prototype, or a 3D printer. The final stage is to test, test and test again. In this phase, designers are refining the prototype and using observations and feedback to make it better.
Embracing failures, which typically implies negative outcomes, is critical to the design thinking process. Students are challenged to see early failure as an important part of the experience of innovation and creation that stimulates new learning and understanding and ultimately produces better outcomes and solutions.