Design thinking is a human-centered process for creative problem-solving. It is a framework that consists of 5 phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. Because it is a solution-focused approach, not problem-focused, design thinking begins with empathy to understand what people need, not just what they want.

Design Thinking Resources


Equity Center Design Framework - Reimagine the design process in a way that promotes equity.

The Henry Ford Model I - Learning frameworks based on artifacts and stories in The Henry Ford Archive of American Innovation. The framework consists of two frames: Actions of Innovation and Habits of an Innovator.

The Launch Cycle - A K-12 design thinking framework.

Helpful Sites

Design Thinking Explained - Article written by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) experts in the field.

Human-Centered Design - Designed for organizations that work with impoverished communities but includes methods relevant to education as well as it takes you through the human-centered design process.

IDEO - Global design company.

Makers Empire Design Thinking Guide for Teachers

REMC 21 Things4Students: Design Thinking - Learn more about design thinking by completing quests in an online learning experience.

Stanford - Design thinking institute based in Stanford University.


Design Dots - Fifty quick ways to integrate design thinking into your language arts classroom.

Innovator's Compass - Tackle everyday challenges with this simple and convenient tool. By mapping out your observations, principles and ideas, you can address problems and make a plan of action within four steps.

The Extraordinaires Design Studio - Introduce your students to design thinking, problem solving, and inventing in a wildly creative way that fosters empathy and resilience.

IDEO Method Cards - These cards are low-tech and offer 51 ways to inspire design, while keeping humans at the center of the process, the whole time. Each card describes one method and includes a brief story about how and when to use it. These cards are not a “how to” guide. They are a design tool meant to help you explore new approaches and develop your own. The deck can be used to take a new view, to inspire creativity, to communicate with a team, or to turn a corner.

Solve In Time - Deck of cards to facilitate design thinking through real world problems.

The Empathy Toy - A blindfolded puzzle game that can only be solved when players learn to understand each other.


Launch Book COver