Design thinking : an overview by L'Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique

For L’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique, a higher education design school with 1300 students, the project is correlated to the philosophy of design lab, which works on the research and dissemination of methods and tools of design.

Role in the project

  • Work on methods and tools with students and partners and improve them.
  • Capitalize the methods and tools on the design / employability developed in the different hubs and the collaboration of the different partners.
  • Communicate the tools via an open source platform / wiki and distribute them to as many people as possible. Work all at once on tools, case studies.

Design thinking in a few words

Design thinking is a method and an approach often related to innovation. The specificity of this approach is not to be centered on the product, but on the users. For example, I no longer work on an (incremental) improvement of a problem, but on practices and usage. If we take the example of a bike, I no longer work on an element but on the use and the experience around the bike (who are the frequent users, the refractory, why? Who are the actors (of the city for example) ? I search with observation tools from the human and social sciences (sociologists, psychologists) or even with digital data.

Beyond this research, the philosophy of design thinking is that of “doing” and therefore prototyping. This is why this approach is very much related to the fab lab and makers' culture, and also very much related to the computer culture (V1, V2, V3) of “agile” development.

Prototyping is also an opportunity to continue to recover user feedback to improve the product or service.

There are still many questions, however, about the method: * who are the “real” users, how to involve them? * What are the tools to improve? * how to work on the right to the error? Establish a “permit to do” * What are the business models related to new ways of working in open and collaborative mode?

The design specificity in design thinking

If everyone can help creativity (question of method), it is important to work in collaborative mode: it is necessary to involve actors (users, experts) at different stages of the project (research use, expertise, technical). It also requires typical design capabilities, prototyping. This is why the designer seems particularly legitimate: one must always have an idea of the concrete implementation of each idea and the design as a practice is to guide the process (implementation facilitated). The designer does not have a monopoly on innovation but has tools to catalyze it.