DSGN09014 2023 Design Thinking for Innovation

General Details

Full Title
Design Thinking for Innovation
Transcript Title
Design Think
N/A %
Subject Area
DSGN - Design
BUS - Business
09 - NFQ Level 9
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2023 - Full Academic Year 2023-24
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Breda McTaggart, Adrian Durcan
Programme Membership
SG_BDIGI_M09 202300 Master of Science in Digital Business SG_BDIGI_O09 202300 Postgraduate Diploma in Science in Digital Business SG_SMARK_M09 202300 Master of Science in Marketing SG_SDIGI_S09 202300 Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Marketing SG_SMARK_O09 202300 Postgraduate Diploma in Science in Marketing SG_SMARL_M09 202300 Master of Science in Marketing SG_SMARM_M09 202300 Master of Science in Marketing

Design Thinking is a human-centred design methodology that provides an iterative approach to identifying and solving problems. The research-based method integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for a viable business success model, to design innovative solutions that benefit all project stakeholders.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Determine project tasks and stakeholders.


Conduct project specific research through interviews, usability tests, etc.


Interpret research and define specifications to ideate solutions.


Experiment by building prototypes to validate solutions.


Evolve and present prototypes through research participant feedback.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lectures will introduce the students to the benefits of Design Thinking through case studies and best practice and will provide clear objectives and methods to commence project based learning tasks. 

A UDL approach will be embedded in the delivery of this module to ensure it is accessible for all learners. Learners will be encouraged to
engage in reflective practice to help them identify how they can improve their learning during the semester.

Module Assessment Strategies

Learners will provide the following components through continuous assessment which are designed to ensure they meet the learning outcomes:

1. An Empathy and Define portfolio, outlining qualitative and quantitative research artefacts.

2. An Ideation, Prototyping and Testing portfolio, detailing iterative design artefacts, based on user feedback and a defence of design decisions.


Repeat Assessments

Repeat requirements will be determined when the overall learning profile of the student is considered.

Indicative Syllabus

Indicative Syllabus

The syllabus focuses on using a recognised five stage approach to design thinking.

1. Empathise (Learning Outcomes 1,2,3)

How to understand any proposed problem? Observation and consultation with all stakeholders are necessary to have an empathic understanding to define a problem by knowing:

  • What is the design thinking process?
  • Why is design thinking important?
  • What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research?
  • How to define the problem through empathy?
  • How to define the problem scope?

2. Define (Learning Outcomes 1,2,3)

How to filter research into design specifications? How to establish features, functions, and any other elements that will help to ideate solutions by knowing:

  • Who are my users and what are their stories?
  • What are the benefits of usability testing/interviews and how to conduct same?
  • How to capture a current customer journey?
  • How to conduct competitive benchmarking?
  • How to define design specifications?

3. Ideate (Learning Outcomes 3,4)

How to use and employ an ‘ideation’ tool set to conceptualise a myriad of solutions for prototyping purposes by knowing:

  • Why research is necessary in creating innovative solutions?
  • How to refer to research for inspiration?
  • How to use applied user story mapping brainstorming for ideation?
  • How to create ideal customer journey maps and storyboards?
  • How to document same through software familiarisation?

4. Prototype (Learning Outcomes 3,4)

How to create interactive versions of the idea for testing purposes to validate same by knowing:

  • What is the purpose of a prototype?
  • What is prototype fidelity?
  • How to create an inspired prototype using ‘design thinking’ principles?
  • How to create an interactive prototype, including physical and digital techniques and a critique of AI formed solutions?
  • How to use prototyping software?

5. Test. (Learning Outcome 4,5)

How to test and iterate prototypes at chronological fidelity phases to clearly define a project proposal for future development purposes by knowing:

  • What is testing?
  • How to test a prototype?
  • What is iteration?
  • How to integrate iterations?
  • What does hand-over documentation look like?

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Empathy and define portfolio artefacts Coursework Assessment Assignment 40 % Week 6 1,2,3
2 Ideation, prototype and test artefacts Coursework Assessment Assignment 60 % End of Semester 3,4,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Studio Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Project 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.00 Hours

Online Learning Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Online Online Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning Online Project 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Online Learning Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2019-03-05 Change by Design, Revised and Updated HarperBusiness
ISBN 0062856626 ISBN-13 9780062856623

The subject of design thinking is the rage at business schools, throughout corporations, and increasingly in the popular pressdue in large part to work of IDEO, a leading design firm, and its celebrated CEO, Tim Brown, who uses this book to show how the techniques and strategies of design belong at every level of business. The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities. Change by Design explains design thinking, the collaborative process by which the designers sensibilities and methods are employed to match peoples needs, not only with what is technically feasible, but what is viable to the bottom line. Design thinking converts need into demand. Its a human-centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and more creative. Introduced a decade ago, the concept of design thinking remains popular at business schools, throughout corporations, and increasingly in the popular pressdue in large part to work of IDEO, the undisputed world leading strategy, innovation, and design firm headed by Tim Brown. As he makes clear in this visionary guidenow updated with addition material, including new case studies, and a new introductiondesign thinking is not just applicable to so-called creative industries or people who work in the design field. Its a methodology that has been used by organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, to increase the quality of patient care by re-examining the ways that their nurses manage shift change, or Kraft, to rethink supply chain management. Change by Design is not a book by designers for designers; it is a book for creative leaders seeking to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization, product, or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.

Required Reading
2019 Design for how People Think
ISBN 1491985453 ISBN-13 9781491985458

This practical book will help you uncover critical insights about how your customers think so you can create products or services with an exceptional experience

Required Reading
2021-02-23 How Design Makes Us Think
ISBN 1616899778 ISBN-13 9781616899776

From posters to cars, design is everywhere. While we often discuss the aesthetics of design, we don't always dig deeper to unearth the ways design can overtly, and covertly, convince us of a certain way of thinking.How Design Makes Us Think collects hundreds of examples across graphic design, product design, industrial design, and architecture to illustrate how design can inspire, provoke, amuse, anger, or reassure us. Graphic designer Sean Adams walks us through the power of design to attract attention and convey meaning. The book delves into the sociological, psychological, and historical reasons for our responses to design, offering practitioners and clients alike a new appreciation of their responsibility to create design with the best intentions.How Design Makes Us Think is an essential read for designers, advertisers, marketing professionals, and anyone who wants to understand how the design around us makes us think, feel, and do things.

Required Reading
2020-09 Rethinking Users
ISBN 9063695810 ISBN-13 9789063695811

Knowing your users stimulates your imagination and helps you create more exciting and effective design solutions. But there is a problem: the normal conception of 'the user' is incomplete and based on outdated notions. These notions of simple, direct relationships between people and products are no longer valid in today's complex, technologically interconnected world. This fun and practical book with a set of cards will change the way readers think about users. Rethinking Usersintroduces a radical new approach that questions some of our most fundamental ideas about the nature of user experience. It points to new opportunities to create products and services that help users in new ways. The book includes a deck of user archetype cards and step-by-step team activities for unlocking new user-centered thinking and design inspiration. For designers, design researchers, strategists, innovators, product managers, and entrepreneurs in almost any field.

Required Reading
2018-05-22 The Design Thinking Playbook John Wiley & Sons
ISBN 9781119467472 ISBN-13 1119467470

A radical shift in perspective to transform your organization to become more innovative The Design Thinking Playbook is an actionable guide to the future of business. By stepping back and questioning the current mindset, the faults of the status quo stand out in stark reliefand this guide gives you the tools and frameworks you need to kick off a digital transformation. Design Thinking is about approaching things differently with a strong user orientation and fast iterations with multidisciplinary teams to solve wicked problems. It is equally applicable to (re-)design products, services, processes, business models, and ecosystems. It inspires radical innovation as a matter of course, and ignites capabilities beyond mere potential. Unmatched as a source of competitive advantage, Design Thinking is the driving force behind those who will lead industries through transformations and evolutions. This book describes how Design Thinking is applied across a variety of industries, enriched with other proven approaches as well as the necessary tools, and the knowledge to use them effectively. Packed with solutions for common challenges including digital transformation, this practical, highly visual discussion shows you how Design Thinking fits into agile methods within management, innovation, and startups. Explore the digitized future using new design criteria to create real value for the user Foster radical innovation through an inspiring framework for action Gather the right people to build highly-motivated teams Apply Design Thinking, Systems Thinking, Big Data Analytics, and Lean Start-up using new tools and a fresh new perspective Create Minimum Viable Ecosystems (MVEs) for digital processes and services which becomes for example essential in building Blockchain applications Practical frameworks, real-world solutions, and radical innovation wrapped in a whole new outlook give you the power to mindfully lead to new heights. From systems and operations to people, projects, culture, digitalization, and beyond, this invaluable mind shift paves the way for organizationsand individualsto do great things. When youre ready to give your organization a big step forward, The Design Thinking Playbook is your practical guide to a more innovative future.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources
Updated Literary Resources
Journal Resources

Creative Review: creativereview.co.uk

Applied Arts: appliedartsmag.com

Communication Arts: commarts.com

URL Resources

IDEO: cantwait.ideo.com

Interaction Design Foundation: interaction-design.org

Nielsen Norman Group: nngroup.com

Other Resources
Additional Information