The systems, structures, spaces, and tools we rely on as a society are built on design-thinking principles. As designers, we have the power to address the biggest challenges of our time. As a community, we can influence people's lives and rely on our commitments to creativity, equity, sustainability, and new technologies to enact change for good.

Design Thinking

As one of the most comprehensive design colleges in the country, we prepare our students to confront grand challenges through the application of the design-thinking process. Our students and alumni use their design education to make a positive change in the world.

Response cards from Owning Up: Racism in Minneapolis Housing

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a five-step iterative process for creating solutions that prioritize the user. Each of the five phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test—offer design teams the opportunity to more deeply understand their users by challenging assumptions, redefining the problem, and developing new ideas to mock up and test.

Design in Action

Susannah Scaroni wheelchair racing
Bringing Inclusivity to Sports Apparel

Sarah Klecker (BS ’17, Apparel Design) is putting her design degree to work creating functional apparel for athletes of all kinds.

Be the Voice of the User

When Simon Ozbek (MS ‘20, Human Factors & Ergonomics) started his academic career he never could have imagined that it would take him all the way to NASA.

Nature-Based Play, Nature-Based Design

Early interaction with nature has been proven to increase children's capacity for creativity, critical concentration skills, and relationship building. Jordan Hedlund (Landscape Architecture) sought to harness these advantages by co-designing outdoor programmed space with Leech Lake Early Childhood Development.