First Steps into Design Thinking


May 22, 2017
Jared Huke

By Jared Huke, Lecturer in the Center for Integrated Design

It was a curious thing to teach Design Thinking to non-designers. As a class, I think we all—students and professor alike—learned a lot about how the strengths in the process can yield greater than expected results. This refutation of expectations is really where the magic of the class started to shine. 

From all of the different groups and their subjects, each one was able to uncover a surprising insight or discovery of real human insights through the interviewing process. I think this was the “Aha!” moment for many of them – when they realized that their assumptions weren’t valid. As an instructor, it was something to build off of. 

I think one notable example of this was found in the group that was exploring STD awareness at UT. They had assumed that social stigma or fear of death/bad news were the major blockers to people getting tested. Not so, they found, but the fear of this testing showing up on an insurance report that their parents would see – especially among some of the population that were supposedly not sexual active – was a huge problem. This would force them to pay out of pocket, which led to the second blocker: money. Personally, I think these are excellent insights as they yield very obvious paths to design solutions around them and facilitate the interviewees end goal: no dying of a preventable or treatable disease. 

I wouldn’t say we saved the world this semester, but with the smart women and men I had the pleasure of teaching, armed with a few useful tools, it definitely gives me hope for our future.

Read More Stories