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Design Thinking 101

Dec 11, 2018

Adam Royalty, founder of the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio and long-time lecturer at the Stanford, joins me today. We’ll dig into topics including reflective practices in design education, designing for learning, and connecting design thinking to change management and change leadership.

Every time I’ve had a chance to talk with Adam, I’ve come away with all sorts of thoughts and ideas. I’m excited to have him as a guest on the podcast, and hope he can spark similar inspiration for you!

One important point that Adam makes is the need for reflection. He’s been doubling down on having students reflect, and supporting that reflection in very intentional ways. In our conversation, you’ll hear how students respond to this, and how Adam uses it as a powerful tool to encourage and support creativity. Often when he’s teaching design, it’s to help teach students a creative process so that they can solve problems and become more innovative.

I’ve been wrestling lately with the mashup between design thinking and learning design, in terms of how to help learners approach creating learning experiences and learning environments in a “designerly” manner. Adam points out that the process depends on your goal, which isn’t necessarily the same in different learning environments.

In addition to all of this, Adam and I will talk about where he sees practices involving design thinking and design service going in the next several years, the ways we’ve been working with narratives and storytelling in design practice, why it’s so vital that we focus on discipline in addition to creativity, his reading recommendations for further information, and much more.

Learn More About Today’s Guest

Adam Royalty on LinkedIn

Adam Royalty on Facebook

In This Episode

[01:38] — What are some of the themes that Adam is wrestling with in his work right now?

[04:10] — Adam talks about how he’s seen reflection play out in the classroom, in terms of how students respond.

[07:02] — Has Adam used similar practices outside the classroom, such as with teams or organizations?

[09:16] — We hear about what Adam is learning about what transfers outside the classroom into other domains.

[14:00] — Adam shares his perspective on the broader conversation of design thinking pedagogy and service design pedagogy.

[17:23] — Dawan has been wrestling with how to help learners approach creating learning experiences. Adam shares his thoughts on the subject.

[23:31] — How does designing for learning affect Adam’s thinking and approach for synthesis?

[28:22] — Adam talks about where he sees the practices involving design thinking going in the next couple of years.

[35:52] — Dawan is seeing more openness to using the designer’s lens in his work, he points out.

[37:22] — Adam responds to the points that Dawan has been making, then the two of them talk more about narratives.

[43:06] — We hear Dawan’s thoughts on what Adam has been saying about working with other disciplines.

[48:40] — Dawan talks about the role of discipline, not just creativity, in design.

[53:11] — Has anything else come to mind for Adam that hasn’t come up yet in the conversation?

[55:51] — What are some references, papers, or books that Adam has found to be particularly influential or meaningful to him or students he’s worked with?

[58:58] — Adam talks about where listeners can learn more about him or read his writing.

Links and Resources (Dawan Stanford)

Adam Royalty on LinkedIn

Adam Royalty on Facebook

Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio


“I Use It Every Day”: Pathways to Adaptive Innovation After Graduate Study in Design Thinking by Adam Royalty, Lindsay Oishi, and Bernard Roth

Acting with Creative Confidence: Developing a Creative Agency Assessment Tool by Adam Royalty, Lindsay Oishi, and Bernard Roth

Design-based Pedagogy: Investigating an emerging approach to teaching design to non-designers by Adam Royalty

Amy Edmondson on LinkedIn

David Kelley and Tom Kelley

Tim Brown

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth