If you have any interest in the tech industry, you’ve probably heard of the ‘design thinking’ concept. Harnessed by the likes of IBM and Apple, the Stanford-designed methodology for creative problem solving has taken the business world by storm.
But while it’s undoubtedly been transformative in influencing the way tech products are developed, and for wider FMCGs too (PepsiCo is a big proponent), the process has the potential to be beneficial to every industry – and indeed, it’s particularly suited to the world of education.
We know that Higher Education institutions face a multitude of challenges today. In addition to the monumental job to do in building back from the Covid crisis, they’re under more pressure than to deliver ground-breaking research and to rank highly in measures such as the teaching excellence framework (TEF). And at the same time, students are more discerning than ever about what they expect from university, demanding greater certainty about their learning experience, pastoral care – and ultimately, employability.
Universities are responding to the challenge with a clear shift towards more student-centric strategies and it’s here where design thinking really comes into play. Design thinking solves problems by prioritising the consumer’s (and in this case, the student’s) needs above all else. We believe that university leaders can make great strides in attracting and retaining students by observing how current cohorts interact with their environments, and then take an iterative, hands-on approach to creating innovative solutions.
In pedagogy, design thinking complements inquiry- and project-based approaches to teaching and learning, which can help the sector deliver better approaches to graduate employability too. If careers services can assess priorities from both a student AND and employer perspective, they can help design a better way of connecting students and employers, and ensuring talent acquisition is accessible, equitable and successful.
So how do educators get started embracing design thinking? We believe that there are four guiding principles which you need to keep with you throughout the process. They are:
Empathy - Understanding what your students need turns actual problems into meaningful solutions.
Expansive Thinking - Expansive thinking, or in other words, big-picture brainstorming, is about challenging the status quo in an effort to come up with ideas that are even better than the ones you had previously.
Experimentation - Once you’ve done the brainwork of developing the ideas, it’s time to test them to learn what works and what doesn’t. Great design thinking means constant testing and iteration to go from good practice to best practices.
Empowerment - Design thinking isn’t just for designers. Empowering teaching staff, managers, support staff and everyone else on the team to embrace design thinking and collaboration will lead to better ideas.
This event will be CPD accredited and facilitated by Spotless, a leading design thinking organisation. The event is designed for those managing (or aspiring to manage) university Careers Services and is a free CPD course with the goal of defining the future of the sector and creating a more equitable university to career transition for every student. To learn more, visit https://joinhandshake.co.uk/careers2030