How thinking by design develops 21st-century skills?

How thinking by design develops 21st-century skills?

Education today should be something that prepares the students for the time to come. Acquiring 21st-century skills should be at the core of education. Educators should plan learning and teaching in such a way that students get experiences that develop skills such as Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Problem-solving.

It is said that it’s easy to solve problems than finding them. Creativity and innovation can happen only when one finds a problem with the existing systems by displaying empathy. Once a problem is spotted there are several possibilities to solve it. Convergent and divergent thinking can come into play to propose ideas to solve these problems.

It is imperative that we help the students learn these skills along with giving them knowledge. Design Thinking Process comes in the picture here. It is defined as “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” — Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO.

It has been proven that this approach has led to several innovations. In today’s time, a lot of corporates are investing in training their staff to internalize the Design Thinking Process. This is the best way to ensure that there is a fresh approach towards tasks leading to the creation of new ideas and processes.


A growing number of schools today across the globe, are incorporating learning and practicing of the Design Thinking Process in the curriculum. This enables the schools to provide a platform for enhancing students’ learning by equipping them with a proven process for meaningfully applying their knowledge and skills.

Each stage of DTP is discreetly defined and at the same time, it can provide a cycle of process that can be used to enhance the effectiveness of the idea and make it more productive.

The process connects the initiator and the user of the idea closely and the initiator at every stage keeps the need of the user in mind. The process enhances that failure is not an end but it’s a lesson that gives birth to a new idea. The scope for iteration leads to inculcating growth mindset.

What a teacher cannot teach in the entire year, can be taught by a design thinking project. While we prepare the students for an unknown future, the best thing an educator can do is develop the skill of thinking by design. There will be no dearth of creativity and innovation. And the world will be filled with people who have empathy for the problems of others.

Raksha Lapashya

Head of Curriculum - Primary at Nord Anglia Education (India)

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