Welcome to the Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking

“A 90-minute video-led cruise through our methodology”

Welcome to the d.school’s Virtual Crash Course resource page!

We know not everyone can make a trip to the d.school to experience how we teach design thinking. So, we created this online version of one of our most frequently sought after learning tools. Using the video, handouts, and facilitation tips below, we will take you step by step through the process of hosting or participating in a 90 minute design challenge.

If you choose to participate, in 90 minutes you will be taken through a full design cycle by participating in The Gift-Giving Project. This is a fast-paced project where participants pair up to interview each other, identify real needs, and develop a solution to “redesign the gift-giving experience” for their partner. NO PREVIOUS DESIGN EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. We’ll provide all the information you need to be successful, whether you are just pairing up with one other person or you are gathering a large group  (great for organizations, schools, or companies).

Through this experience we hope you will take away some of the basic principles of Design Thinking and start to adapt them into your personal and professional routines.

Below, you will find three sections:

Welcome to the Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking

Look who’s crashing: d.heatmap

Gear up!: How to kick off a crash course

“Be a Design Thinking facilitator! ”

Join a community of learners, do-ers and teachers. Journey through a Design Thinking experience, apply it in the real world, and go forth and teach others the methodology.

Crash Course Requirements:

  • This is a paired activity, so there must be an even number of participants.
  • Internet connection, a large screen or projector with sound.
  • Prototyping materials (arts & crafts supplies).
  • Print outs of handouts supplied.

Facilitator roles:

  • Coordinate a group of participants and meeting space. There must be a minimum of 2 people, but no maximum for the number or participants.
  • Present Opening Remarks on WHAT Design Thinking is to you, and why this is an important exercise for the group. There are NO wrong answers here.
  • Facilitate and document the Crash Course debrief.
  • Help your team move from learning design thinking to doing design thinking by visiting “Chart your own course” — It may help you to review the various mixtapes ahead of time so that you have a hunch as to what direction your team might want to take.

Step-by-step Instructions:

    1. Set up the room and materials.
      • Space should be configured to allow for participants to pair up near one another easily.
      • Check the AV before the meeting: test play and buffer the video; test the audio in the room.
      • Have enough prototyping materials available (candy is always a nice add).
      • Please print the following documents for each participant:

[Get it in German, JapaneseSpanish, Basque or French here.]


    1. Read the playbook.

[The playbook and video in Japanese can be found here.]

  1. Play the video and follow the prompts.
    • Play upbeat music during all steps while participants work, and turn it down to give instruction.
    • Be assertive about keeping the timing tight. Follow the gong!
Gear up!: How to kick off a crash course

Go for a ride!: Virtual Crash Course Video

Video not loading? Click here.

Chart a New Course: Put Design Thinking to Work

If you just ran the d.gift crash course, we hope you and your team found it to be a valuable experience, and you’re excited about doing more design thinking. If so, you are likely asking yourself how to maintain the momentum and integrate a design approach into your work.

Well, guess what?


(Three actually. We stayed up all night!)

Each is a different way to advance your project — think of them as a soundtrack for your next journey!

Choose one of them to help you immediately bring design thinking into your real-life challenges. Each mixtape will guide you through half a day of design thinking work. Plan to advance your project more in this half day than you might in a typical week.

In the spirit of bias-toward-action, get started now while you’ve still got your dancing shoes on.

Start here:

Think about a challenge you and your team are facing.
Ask yourself what you need to do more of to advance this project.
Then choose one of these three mixtapes:

More information: Which mixtape should I choose? What project should I work on?

Chart a New Course: Put Design Thinking to Work

Hack.d Credits

HACK.d was the inaugural hackathon hosted by the d.school. The event brought together a diverse community of developers, designers, makers, and more to inspire and build creative technical solutions to bring Design Thinking to the world.

Over 100 participants gathered for 48 hours of rapid prototyping. Visit the projects page to see the results. A Special Thanks to all our HACK.d Founding Members. Read the d.school blog for event details, and project WINNERS.

HACK.d is how we found the team to build the engagement map. To see more usable results, visit HACK.d Experiments — open-source tools to support creative learning and teaching experiences.

Hack.d Credits

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Follow @stanforddschool on Twitter.

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These resources are free for you to use and share – and we hope you do!

To view a copy of this license, click here.

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