Primer On Design Thinking

Design Thinking can be thought of as design synthesis, which is "an abductive sensemaking process of manipulating, organizing, pruning, and filtering data in the context of a design problem, in an effort to produce information and knowledge." When encountered in professional practice, synthesis is frequently performed "in the head", and the outcome is only observed once the artifact begins to take form. During this formation process, the designer follows a 'user-centered' discovery process of immersion while they 'incubate' the material, reflect, and ultimately produce a tangible artifact, or innovation.(1)

Bionic Learning is a model to make abduction, synthesis and sensemaking more accessible to untrained users. Bionic Learning embeds reflected mentoring as an integral contributor to the innovative outcomes of synthesis. We draw on the wisdom of John Boyd's OODA loop to create a strategic framework in which to position the process of synthesis. The loop, using the terms of the design synthesis described above, goes from Intuit to Reflect to Incubate to Artifact Creation.

(1) Jon Kolko, Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Thinking, Educational Conference Proceedings, San Francisco: IDSA, 2007.