Design Thinking

U of M forum looks at Design Thinking as a means of advancing equity in business and beyond

By Kevyn Burger
Thu, 2017-01-19 09:39

Design Thinking, which uses classic methods employed by designers to solve complex problems, will be the focus of an upcoming free forum at the University of Minnesota.
Entitled ‘Out of the Studio and into the Streets: Using Design Thinking to Advance Equity and Sustainability,’ the event is scheduled for January 27 and will be available to stream via YouTube.
It’s open to the public as part of the ongoing series of Critical Conversations about Diversity and Justice, presented by the university’s Office for Equity and Diversity. The forum will bring together “Design Thinking” proponents from business, health care, architecture and urban planning and the arts.
With its potential to strategically impact nearly every sector, efforts are underway to ensure that design thinking has a broad base of people who are skilled in its use.
“A component of design thinking is to embrace diversity in all its forms. Diversity is not an add on or a politically correct check-box, it is the essence of creating high functioning organizations and people,” asserts Teddie Potter, a clinical associate professor and director of inclusivity and diversity at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.
“This inclusivity expands beyond racial, ethnic or gender categories to  includes diverse ways of thinking. We want to bring together people of diverse ages, abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds, people from different geographic regions. When we mix it up and bring different allies to the table, we expand the possibility of finding new innovative solutions,” Potter adds.
Potter will be on the panel assembled for the conversation, along with Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson, Director of Family and Partnerships, Minneapolis Public Schools; DeAnna Dodds Cummings, CEO Juxtaposition Arts and Tom Fisher, Director of the U’s Minnesota Design Center.
Fisher sees businesses using design thinking methods, which relies on equal parts logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning.
“Design thinking is not a top-down expertise model, it’s a bottom up customer engagement model,” Fisher explains.
A key activity in design thinking is prototyping, which is accelerated through digital advances and 3D printing.
“With the shift to a rapid prototyping process, there’s more involvement with customers, who in some ways co-create products and services which may go through many iterations by the time they get to market.”
Friday, January 27, 2017 1:30 PM
Elmer Andersen Library
21st Avenue South Minneapolis
Room 120/Givens Conference Room 222