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Design Thinking is a methodology basically developed by teachers from Stanford University. It can be defined as “combining empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality in analyzing and fitting various solutions to the problem context” (Brandeis University: www.brandeis.edu/highschool/designlab/whatis.html , 2015)
Design Thinking was developed as a new method to create business models and create final products by brainstorming in a different way; with a method focussing on people’s real needs instead of economical concerns. To go through a Design Thinking process there are various different steps or phases to follow: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. These phases are not meant to be followed in a chronological order.
In the semninar we conflate Design Thinking with urban development methods. This approach offers a lot of advantages in comparison to traditional urban planning methods. Here the user, the citizen, is the main focus. The useroriented design concept increases the acceptance and cooperation of residents. In addition the integration of users enhance the transparency of the decision process, which is often a critical point for urban development projects.
Another advantage is that the Design Thinking method builds on interdisciplinary teams. With various perspectives the planning progress enables synergies and innovative solutions. The method includes a business modeling stage which serves as a “reality check” in early stages. Design Thinking offers time-efficient, solution-oriented and sustainable instruments, that enhance the traditional planning processes.
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