• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Design
  • Areas of interest Digital Arts, Digital Humanities, Creative Arts, Design

Design Thinking is a term used to describe processes involving the application of user research, ideation, participation and collaboration for problem-solving and innovation in a wide range of cultural contexts. In practice, Design Thinking embraces rapid iteration, prototyping, co-design and participatory design, empathic design, design probes and other ethnographic and user-centred methods. This course makes a critical examination of this domain, considering its processes, products and relationship to other human-centred design methodologies. The course asks students to apply design thinking methods in their own disciplinary practice through conducting research, concept development, context analysis and creative production. Students will also investigate and critically interpret the defining concepts and theories of this domain. This course has relevance to a broad set of disciplines and especially to design practitioners seeking new approaches for ideation, engagement and innovation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Interpret and apply Design Thinking theories, concepts, and processes.
  2. Creatively adapt to the technical and cultural constraints of a specific context.
  3. Conduct and interpret user research and apply the findings to a design process.
  4. Critically reflect on practice and substantiate design outcomes with research and rationale.

Indicative Assessment

Participation (10%) Learning Outcomes 1-4
User Research report, 1200 words (20%) Learning Outcomes 1,3,4
Design project (50%) Learning Outcomes 1-4
Project rationale, 1200 words (20%) Learning Outcomes 1,3,4
Assessment includes periodic critique and review sessions that provide formative feedback on work in progress.

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 42 hours of contact comprising lectures, tutorials / workshops.
b) 88 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed at least one of the following courses: ARTV1020, ARTV1021, ARTV1022, ARTV1032, ARTV1033, DESA1020, DESA1021, DESA1022, DESN1001 or DESN1002.

Preliminary Reading

Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. New York: Harper Business.
Cross, N. (2011). Design thinking: Understanding how designers think and work. Oxford: Berg.
Kelley, T., & Littman, J. (2001). The art of innovation: Lessons in creativity from IDEO, America's leading design firm. New York: Currency/Doubleday.
Norman, D. A. (2002). The design of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.
Patnaik, D., & Mortensen, P. (2009). Wired to care: How companies prosper when they create widespread empathy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press.
Rapid viz a new method for the rapid visualization of ideas. (2006). Boston: Thomson Course Technology PTR.
Verganti, R. (2009). Design-driven innovation: Changing the rules of competition by radically innovating what things mean. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3120
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4800
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4670 21 Jun 2022 29 Jun 2022 08 Jul 2022 22 Jul 2022 In Person View

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