Design Thinking

Design thinking (dt) is human-centered problem solving. It’s optimistic. Full of empathy. It uses iterative prototyping to learn by doing and to meet the needs of a user -- or users -- that a design thinker focuses on. You don’t have to be a pro. You just have to care.

DEEPdt, developed at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation, provides a phased methodology for design thinking -- Discover, Empathize, Experiment, and Produce. And while that may seem linear, it’s actually messier than that - which is part of what makes it fun and interesting. The phases -- or modes -- help a design thinker embrace the messiness and leverage a system for honing in on the roots of a problem and meeting the needs of the user(s). 

At the core of DEEPdt is finding something that really connects designer and user and makes them MoVe. By flaring and focusing multiple times through the DEEPdt process, it becomes easier to find a Moment of Visible Empathy, which unlocks countless possibilities for addressing challenges and making a dent - a positive difference - in the world. 


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The DEEPdt Playbook

In 2014, a team of MVIFI designers embarked on a design challenge to scale the DEEP methodology into tools for design thinkers to use. Inspired by IDEO and Stanford's, this playbook has been used all over the country in various industries to inspire people-centered problem solving. We have decided to offer this playbook, which includes a design thinking introduction called a Flashlab, free of charge under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.