Lesson 2: How do I use Design Thinking

Return to: The Design Thinking Process | '''Lesson 1: What is Design Thinking'''


Let's Solve a Problem

Now that you have a basic understanding of this process, let's solve a given problem together. Each of the steps will be discussed briefly here, but to see examples of the stages in this challenge head to the Google Classroom and click on Backpack Redesign.


Design Challenge: Redesigning a Backpack

Students use backpacks everyday, there has to be a way to make it better. Your challenge is to create a backpack that students will enjoy using.

Stage 1: Empathize

In order to know how to make a better backpack, we first should empathize with those who use a backpack. Who would this be?

Below you will find 2 interviews: Pick one to watch and take notes as if you were the one interviewing the interviewee.

Tess, Interview 1

Jayden, Interview 2

Stage 2: Define

Now that you have interviewed a student about what would make their backpack better, create a problem sentence that helps you to define the student's problem.

______________ (name) needs a/an __________________ (need) that _________________________(what will it do?).

Example: Becca needs a backpack that has a spot for her laptop and her water bottle.

Stage 3: Ideate

You now have knowledge of the problem, and have empathized with the end user. It is time to begin to put your ideas on paper. Remember the following things:

  • Keep the end user in mind while sketching
  • There is nothing too crazy or too out of reach in this stage.
  • Don't limit yourself!
  • Have fun!

You can do this in two different ways, either through sketching or making a list.


Stage 3.5: Blueprint

This is the piece of the ideate stage that helps you to create a prototype. Take the sketch or idea that you like the most and then create a detailed blueprint of what it will look like.

This should include the following:

  • The materials that will be used.
  • How the materials will be put together.
  • How the solution works.


Stage 4: Prototype

You have made it to the stage of the process where you actually get to create the backpack that you designed. Exciting right? Make sure you follow the blueprint that you created.


Side Note - You are not required to actually complete this stage, but if you want to - more power to you!

Stage 5: Test

Testing in a product like this would look a little bit different then for other creations. The best way to test your backpack would be to go back to the student who you interviewed and ask them what they do and don't like about the backpack. As with any sort of feedback this should be taken and then used to make the prototype even better.

Backpack Challenge Wrap Up

Congrats! You have made it through your first design thinking challenge, not so scary now that you've done it, right? There are some key points that I hope you will take out of this lesson.

Empathize - When you are empathizing you want to make sure you get as much information out of the interview as possible. However, it is important to remember that empathizing can also happen in the form of research depending on the problem that you are solving.

Define - This stage is meant to help you understand the exact problem that you are solving. It should help to give some direction to the next stages.

Ideate - There are no limits to this stage! The more ideas you come up with the better chance there is that you will come up with a great one.

Prototype - Do this stage rapidly. By rapidly prototyping you will be able to complete more tests.

Test - This should be used to find failure points, and then correct them. Testing can include the user, or just be a physical thing that happens to see if the tool you created is working.