Design Thinking and Coding: A Deep Relationship

What is design thinking and why are we writing about it on a blog that talks about the benefits of coding and education in children? Well, there are a number of similarities between this way of thinking and coding. Make yourself comfortable and check out what design thinking is, and how it can help your children reach success in the short term.

According to some online definitions, design thinking is the process from which design concepts (proposals for new products) are born. Design thinking surrounds cognitive and practical activities including problem-finding and solving, creativity and innovation, decision-making, sketching, prototyping (in the cases is necessary), and evaluating the results.

We invite you to take a look at the many benefits design thinking can have over your everyday life, and the deep relationship it has with coding, programming and software ideation. Are you ready?

The stages of design thinking: A great way to solve real-life problems

There are different ways to put design thinking into practice. Different approaches to one way of proceeding and acting. In this opportunity, we decided to bring you an approach to design thinking that is built upon 6 stages. 6 simple stages that will allow you, and your kids, to think more clearly, and to transform ideas into concrete realities.

The 6 stages of Design Thinking are:

Understand
Observe
Define
Ideate
Prototype
Test

What are the 6 stages of Design Thinking and what do they mean

Now that we know that the 6 stages are understand, observe, define, ideate, prototype and test, it is time to dive deep into each one of them and to see how similar these tools are to the multiple tools learning how to code can give your children.

Understand: Understanding is the primary aspect of the planning process. In this stage, learners inundate themselves in learning. In order to have empathy for potential users of whatever we want to create, we need to watch them to discover their identity, expectations and what are those elements that are vital to them. The way to this isn’t about finding the superficial qualities of these potential users, but instead, we seek a deeper understanding.

Observe: In this stage, you should have a clear goal and vision. In this stage of Design Thinking, you’ll need to pay attention to the necessities and potential necessities of that potential user we discussed above. This is the time to better understand these people and to have a deeper comprehension of who they are. In this stage, there is a place for your thoughts and perspectives to enter, it is here where you can put on the table the issue you are evaluating, from your very own point of view.

Define: During the Define stage, you put together the information you have both created and collected during the two previous stages. This is where you will analyze your observations and organize them in order to define the main issues that you have found. To define the problem, you should face it as a problem statement from a human perspective.

A great way to start is to ask yourselves “how could we…”. And let the brainstorming begin!

Ideate: Time to let your imagination fly! It is time to bring ideas to the table, but taking into consideration one big golden rule: No ideas are rejected! This part of the process should be engaging, fun and dynamic. In only one session, teams could bring to the table hundreds of ideas, so order a good pizza, put some good music and open your mind.

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It is important to get as many solution suggestions as possible when this part starts. At the end of the ideation stage, you should pick some other ideation techniques to help you investigate and test your ideas so you can find the best way to either solve a problem or to find elements to pass over it.

Prototype: Don’t get stressed out! A prototype doesn’t have to be the actual app your kids will create in one of our coding classes. A prototype can be a sketch, a drawing or a presentation which will give us a glimpse of how the final product will look like.

This part of the design thinking process is more about thinking than doing. It is about turning all the knowledge we gained during the first steps into something that actually exists and appears. In case you are working on a technological solution, you don’t need more than the minimum viable product, improvements will come later. Don’t worry!

Test: At this stage, you should test the complete product using the best solutions identified during the prototyping stage we discuss above. But don’t worry, even during this stage, changes, adjustments and modifications can be made in order to improve the final product and its usability for its potential users.

Design thinking and coding: How they are related

Design thinking offers a different way to face issues and to find solutions. Just like coding, it offers a path where you’ll get a number of new tools and 21st-century skills while creating.

When you offer your kids the chance for them to create their very own app, they will gain a lot more beyond the actual app they’ll create. From the process itself, they’ll be able to apply empathy, understanding, critical thinking, teamwork and analytical thinking. Just like when designing a solution to anything they want, with Design Thinking.

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