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What is Stanford Design Thinking?

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

There are many good things in this video in Dr. Li Jiang, the director of the Stanford AIRE program. But let's begin with Stanford Design Thinking—a systematic way for creative problem-solving and innovation.

It is broken into a series of five steps:

  1. Empathize - Who are you inventing for? Understand your users and their emotions.
  2. Define - Make sure you have the right problem to start with. Define the needs clearly.
  3. Ideation - Brainstorming and get feedback from users.
  4. Prototype - Develop quick versions to test ideas and make the abstract concrete.
  5. Test - Get feedback. Then redesign or reinvent.

(You can read about it more here)

What I love about this model is that it is valuable in collaboration and working with teams. It is a methodology for any creative project that prioritizes brainstorming and prototyping.

When we work in a creative field, most ideas will be abstract. They may make sense in our heads but won't make sense to others. Creating prototypes gives people a tactile thing to work with, whether a story, a piece of art, or a piece of furniture.

Sometimes we don't know what we want until we can look at a piece and say, "No, that's not what we want." It may not be the most joyous sound to have your work rejected, but at least you are one step closer in the right direction of what they want.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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