Introduction to Design Thinking

From the HSx Core Competencies collection. Design Thinking is a systematic human centered approach to problem solving that has been innovating industries from tech to retail to public service. For a short introduction to what Design Thinking is and how it can solve some of the world’s biggest problems, watch this video produced by Daylight at

open in new window

Resource List

These resources provide a general overview and primer on Design Thinking, its uses, methods, and how Design Thinking principles can be used to expand creativity, think more innovatively, and systematically iterate a solution from idea to execution.


  • IDEO: IDEO is a design company that utilizes its design thinking principles to provide innovative solutions for their clients. The pioneer of human centered design, IDEO is often associated with the founding of the concept of Design Thinking, since its CEO, Tim Brown, has authored several articles on the topic and has done much to advance its use across industries.
    • is the original company website that functions more as a repository for all of the work of IDEO, blogs, news, tools, case studies, etc. The main page can be found at:
    • The website is the non-profit spinoff and is focused mainly utilizing Design Thinking to solve social problems. Main page can be found at:
  • Design Kit was created by to provide tools and resources to the public to use design thinking to solve problems. The site contains provides the manifesto of human centered design, case studies, and most usefully, a robust page on different design thinking methods: The main splash page can be found at:
  • Luma Institute: Luma Institute is another reputable Design Thinking Consulting firm that focuses more on creating systems of innovation within an organization so that all constituents have a more innovative mindset and approach to solving internal and external problems. Main splash page can be found at:



  • Design Thinking is an article written by IDEO CEO, Tim Brown on the evolution of design thinking and its wide application across industries. A great primer for those seeking to see the applicability of Design Thinking as it pertains to organizations.
    • Citation: Brown, Tim. Design Thinking. (June 2008). Harvard Business Review.
  • A Taxonomy of Innovation is an article published by Luma Institute that describes in some detail the terminology of design thinking and how it fits into their system of innovation. It’s a good reference for anyone coming across jargon they don’t quite understand, and while it is tailored to their particular system, many of the terms overlap in the world of Design Thinking.



These online courses are free tutorials that walk a student through the different stages of the design thinking process as well as provide sample exercises.

These materials were developed as an initiative of the Advanced Thinking in Homeland Security (HSx) curriculum at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security. HSx is an 18-month collaborative program from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

1 Response

  1. Chris Bowling says:

    Design thinking is gaining ground in many fields. I was introduced to it earlier this year as I began a doctoral program in instructional design leadership. The iterative methodology allows for either a tangible item or a new process to be created and refined via rapid prototyping and dissemination for testing. In instructional design, it changes the paradigm from the ADDIE model that works towards getting a final solution or version of instruction deployed to deploying iterations of a solution for testing and feedback and then cycling the process again and again until the solution or version meets or exceeds what the user wants and seeks to enhance the user experience (UX). The Successive Approximation Model (SAM) from Allen and the Pebble-in-the-Pond Model from Merrill are two of the more recent instructional design models that employ iterative design ideas although neither are really new. Thanks for sharing this module.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *