"Design Thinking: What Opportunities Does It Open for Students?" -

“Design Thinking: What Opportunities Does It Open for Students?”

Design thinking is one of the contemporary disciplines that students at Vilnius Business College are learning. What exactly is this discipline, and how does it aim in students career paths and personal development? We spoke with Vilija Džiovėnaitė, a lecturer at Vilnius Business College, who explained that design thinking is not just about visuals and why it’s very used by startups as well as large companies.

What Is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a methodology that helps us create changes based on insights from customers, users, or company employees. This methodology encompasses two key aspects: change (we identify and solve a problem using various practices) and the fact that the change is based on the needs of our clients facing a specific issue.

One of the startups of design thinking model is the company “Ideo,” which shifted the perspective that design can solve problems.

Design Thinking: More Than Just Visuals?

In English, design thinking implies action. Identifying a problem, we design, arrange, and construct solutions with students, hence creating a design that can be described as a design of solutions. The methodology itself offers a wide array of tools, so a group of people must think and select which tools are best suited to solve a problem.

How Are Your Lectures Conducted?

Our lectures are not the traditional type where the lecturer speaks and students take notes. They are practice-based sessions. Students come up with a problem relevant to all, define it, and then learn to find solutions using the design thinking methodology, which consists of five stages. While students receive theoretical knowledge about these stages, most of the lecture time is devoted to practice.

Many tools are based on creativity, so during lectures, students develop their creativity through playing, coloring, building, etc. Through such creative construction, discussions, deep dives, and solution searches occur.

How Can Students Apply Design Thinking in Their Future Professional Activities?

The world is constantly changing, and design thinking speaks to change that we can implement very quickly. The traditional business model, where the business itself identifies a problem and obtains a solution from others, no longer works, making design thinking increasingly popular as an effective tool. Its effectiveness comes from continuous collaboration with the client at every stage. By identifying a problem and step-by-step searching for solutions, we continuously involve clients or company employees and receive feedback, finding a solution that truly works instead of being imposed by someone else.

Design thinking is successfully applied in any business that needs ideas and inherently seeks change, from management to business development, from human resources to business risk, etc. Much depends on the specific area of business.

Both startups and large companies seeking changes within the organization or business adopt design thinking as a methodology.

What Else Do Students Learn from Design Thinking Lectures?

Such 21st-century skills as creativity and teamwork are developed, as it’s a team-based practice that teaches listening, voicing one’s opinion, and utilizing various technologies and mobile apps, thus fostering creative technology use competency.

Teamwork is particularly important here, as each team member perceives the problem differently, so students learn to listen to diverse opinions. The more varied the team members, the more unique and unpredictable the solution can be. The team also provides motivation when solution searches take longer.

During lectures, some students learn to dare to voice their ideas and opinions, no matter how strange they may be, while the more active ones, conversely, learn not to overshadow others, to listen. This fosters an understanding that everyone in the team, regardless of experience, maturity, age, personal traits, is equal and that all together, through collaboration, will find a solution.

Can Design Thinking Methodology Be Applied to Personal Development?

Absolutely! For instance, if it’s unclear which career direction to take, what goal to set, or how to achieve it, design thinking methodology can be utilized. Since it’s a clearly defined methodology, it’s applied systematically, step by step. Questions are asked, solutions sought, implemented, then returned to questions about what works, why a conceived solution wasn’t applied, what hindered it, what needs to change, etc.

For example, if a person wants to write, they might ask themselves where they could start writing, whom to write for, what to write about, etc. Thus, step by step, a comprehension of what and how to do is formed.

This way, it’s possible to determine whether the set goal is truly one’s own. Even if the set goal is not achieved, it’s discovered why it happened, what doesn’t work. It’s a path of continuous discoveries, self-reflection, and attempts.

As we see, design thinking only works when applied practically.

First photo – personal archive of V. Džiovėnaitė



Company information

Vilnius Business College Company code 191807983