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Design Thinking in Education - a comment to an article "INFOGRAPHIC: Designing Service"

No doubt that "Design Thinking" has become a very hot topic in the educational space. Stanford has been good in promoting it and grow attention around it.

I attended at Stanford last year and with my MG Taylor experiences and my academic experiences I weren't that impressed. Nevertheless Stanford build a foundation for other universities around the world to think much more interdisciplinary which is great.

Another thing about is that their primarily focus is on physical product development (engineering) and not so much about designing services. The article focus more how to apply it to "service learning" which I see some challenges in.

If you look at an educational institution it consist of an administration and a lot of different islands (each research field). And then you have the students enrolled in different study programs which binds research and administration together (like a big matrix organization).

The idea behind and design thinking is to combine at least two different disciplines in a combined curriculum - like science (like medicine, engineering) and social science (laws, humanities, history, art). This means that you will need a professor/teacher from each discipline to be open to work together with "the other side" on a combined curriculum. This is not the biggest challenge, as I see it. It's still a big challenge because you need to break some barriers of tradition.

The biggest challenge, as I see it, is that the educational system (read: study programs) have become industrialized to lower costs. Funding is allocated to a specific study program and "cross charging" to collaborate across programs isn't easy (if not impossible). There ain't any incentives for professors/teachers to reach over to the other side.

Stanford is exceptional - the latest figure I heard was that only 5% of all applicants gets in and the financial structure is also better than most other around the globe.

Getting back to the framework provided in the article - it make sense but who shall drive it? In my view it has to be a combined effort between educators and administration. I think non of them is cable of during it by their own - either they do it together or it has to come from outside.

It's all about the process than the result but that step will take some times before that will happen. Today courses are divided into tree areas:
1) Curriculum
2) Standard test
3) Process

And the education system only focus and measure on 1 and 2. So how to make number 3 counts in education is where design thinking might be a stepping stone but it's a long way - I think this is only the beginning of a new era (a paradigm shift). How it will look on the other side we can only speculate... :-). I believe the educational system needs a huge make over to comply with future needs. Much more integrated and much more in collaboration with companies...

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