Welcome to Design Thinking

PROVO, Utah – Apr 30, 2018 – No matter how you slice it, two plus two will always equal four. Some problems in life have one simple solution with a clear problem solving methodology. But what about problems that have multiple stakeholders and no clear solution?

Enter design thinking, the creative methodology used to tackle “wicked problems.” The basic steps of design thinking, championed by Stanford University’s Design School, include empathizing with the end user, defining the problem, ideating or brainstorming multiple solutions, and creating and testing a prototype with the end user.

Mat Duerden, BYU Marriott Experience Design and Management Department assistant professor and Todd Manwaring, director of the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance, led the way to organize the Y-Design Student Competition. The competition is just one step that has recently been taken to place a stronger emphasis and focus on the implementation of design thinking into the experience design and management program. 

“We recruited and challenged students to improve the BYU experience, specifically in terms of the school’s ability to promote life-long service,” Duerden says. “Teams went through the design thinking process and presented their final prototypes to a board of judges.”

Judges included Norman Hill, associate managing director for the Balllard Center; Frank Christianson, associate dean in the College of Humanities; and Spencer Magleby, the associate dean of the BYU honors program. The three winning teams split a cash prize of $6,000.

“This project was a great opportunity,” says Catherine Gardiner, experience design and management senior and member of the first place winning team. “My team worked on redesigning the general education choosing experience to be more personal and applicable to students. The best part was applying what I’ve learned in multiple experience design and management classes to a real problem and knowing we would be able to present our findings to professors and deans.”

In addition to the recent student competition, BYU Marriott is teaming up with multiple programs across campus to launch a brand new design thinking minor this fall.

“Design thinking is interdisciplinary,” Duerden say. “Students in all majors can use design thinking as an effective way to problem solve. We as a faculty thought a design thinking minor would be a great opportunity to allow students in other majors to see how design thinking is applied in different spaces.”

Y-Prize Design Thinking
BYU Marriott Experience Design and Management faculty and students are taking great steps to solve wicked problems by implementing design thinking into the program's curriculum.
Y-Prize first place winners
(From left to right): Sarah Gonzales, an experience design and management senior from Fontana, California; Matt Norton, an information systems senior from Colorado Springs, Colorado; Catherine Gardiner, an experience design and management senior from St. George, Utah; and Josie Barnett a pre-management junior from Salt Lake City, Utah, are the first place winners of the Y-Prize Student Competition.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Kelly Brunken