Skip to main content

Window on Warwick: Design Thinking Techniques for Increasing Participation in the Design Process

The University is a design rich environment: we design all kinds of aspects of the educational process, courses, tools, technologies, spaces, organisations, publications. Across all of these fields there is a desire to do designing more collaboratively. Effective participation by staff and students should ensure outcomes that fit more neatly with needs and capabilities, stick in use for longer, spread more widely and grow our capabilities for further development.

Professional designers have developed a broad repertoire of techniques for ensuring effective participation. In this workshop, we will learn about and try out techniques that focus upon the language and dialog used by design collaborations throughout the lifecycle of a design (right through to supporting its use once implemented).

Who is it for?

Staff and Students involved in designing any aspect of learning, teaching and the student experience - physical or digital.

Session Objectives:

We will cover two inter-related Design Thinking techniques, with examples and activities.

Design Language

Designs are typically described and recognised using a remarkably limited and un-examined vocabulary. Expanding and critically assessing a richer shared vocabulary is essential for successful designing. This may counter unhelpful assumptions and cognitive biases, and is especially important when aiming for inclusive and universally accessible designs. Finding just the right words to describe an actual or possible aspect of a design may also unlock new possibilities or new pathways for investigation. Working with language in this way, bringing together all of the perspectives involved in the design process (including users), helps to ensure a higher level of engagement and a sense of ownership.

How do you and your collaborators describe your designs? How might that language be refined and enriched?

Design Patterns

A design pattern is a statement of a problem plus a pattern of actions and interactions that addresses a problem with links to related patterns. It is elaborated with information on its originating context and the concerns, values and problems out of which it arose and advice on implementation and customisation. The pattern is usually headed with a catchy and meaningful title. In some disciplines the inclusion of diagrams and images is considered essential. In education, this might be best achieved with a storyboard or even a video. All of these elements are intended to act as a guide to design activity and a prompt for thinking and prototyping.

Could you benefit from stating your design patterns more explicitly? Could that enable more objective and precise collaborative designing?


Led by

Dr Robert O’Toole NTF, design researcher and Senior Academic Technologist.

Questions? Contact Jane Cooper, j dot p dot cooper at warwick dot ac dot uk, ext 24893, Learning and Development Centre
Where & when? 

Date: Wednesday 31 May 2017
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm

Venue: CMR1.0
Light refreshments on arrival

Book a Place

Would you like to update staff on your department's developments?
M:\PL\Jay\Gareth\Web graphics\WOWlarge.jpg

Do you have skills within your department which would benefit other staff?

Contact Jane Cooper j dot p dot cooper at warwick dot ac dot uk to discuss

To be added to the Window on Warwick mailing list please contact Jane Cooper j dot p dot cooper at warwick dot ac dot uk