Design Thinking for Sustainable Development. Applied Models for Schools, Universities and Communities

Pruneau, Diane

Guides/outils pédagogiques


This book presents the approach to design thinking as understood and mastered by 20 international organizations who have adopted it as a work tool and a means of changing the world as we now know it. 

In this collective work, the 20 organizations whose expertise is presented on design thinking all seek to develop a product, service or experience that improves the lives of people in ordinary or vulnerable communities. Some of these organizations call upon their own employees to find solutions to local problems, while others take on challenges in collaboration with students or community groups, making design thinking a relevant educational tool. To better understand the strategies and tools that these 20 organizations identify as steps towards success in implementing design thinking, their websites and Facebook groups were examined; and efforts were made to gain insight to their point of view through interviews or questionnaires.

In addition, this paper defines and explains design thinking by explaining its beginnings, its use by particular organizations and its use as a teaching tool. This approach is compared with other approaches that can be used in teaching to solve problems related to science, technology, and the environment. It also examines various factors that participating organizations consider a means of achieving success: the types of teams and the work atmosphere that should be fostered, the strategies to use at each step, the collaborative digital tools (ICTs) that can facilitate the process, the equipment and layout of the premises, and the evaluation of the products of design thinking. Finally, through narratives that set out a diversity of experiments in varying contexts and environments, the authors will examine how young students put design thinking into practice, while working together with future teachers, future engineers and community groups. Ideas for environmental issues that need to be solved and the documentary resources necessary to do so are suggested for readers who would like to dig deeper into this fascinating process.

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