Design thinking is an invaluable skill that incorporates holistic first-person perspectives with rational and analytical thinking to arrive at creative solutions. It is an effective approach to tackling complex business, social, and technological problems. When design thinking is applied to healthcare and medicine, it leads to an innovative solution that may be more effective than other methods.
The principles of design thinking can be summed up in five simple steps:
1. Empathize with the users
2. Define the user’s needs and problems along with your own insights
3. Ideate by challenging assumptions and create new concepts and thought processes
4. Prototype by creating different solutions
5. Test out all the solutions
In early March, we collaborated with Ohlone College to run a special projects program for the CTE Health Science Pathway. The purpose of the project was to promote design thinking as a strategy for innovation. We introduced a new technology, bioprinting, and posed challenges in tissue regeneration to students. The class were split into smaller groups and brainstormed to solve a problem of their choice. Students came to this class every Friday for three hours and at the end of the intense 6-week program, they pitched their ideas and solutions to us.
The students split into five groups and researched their topics with bioprinting applications. Two groups chose to do their projects on osteoporosis. The other groups chose aortic valve replacement, meniscus tear replacement, and skin grafting. They created a poster and presentation to showcase their work on the last day. All five groups were able to successfully bioprint a model.
In just a short 6-weeks, many of these students were showing a level of complex design thinking which amazed us. Design thinking is a pertinent process in helping prototype, create and innovate. It is relevant in developing novel solutions in nearly every industry and we have no doubt that these students will continue advancing their skills in the future.