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Taylor offers multiple programming opportunities for Tulane students, faculty and staff, and community members to learn the mindsets and methods of design thinking (human-centered design).

A design thinking mindset puts people at the heart of understanding, experimenting and acting when addressing challenges.

Human-centered designers notice opportunities, ask better questions, identify various stakeholders, try new ideas, and dare to imagine a different world.

Design Thinking News

Design Thinking Breakfast with Johnny Saye

Written by Niesha Ford  “Ooo baby, here I am, sign, sealed, delivered, I’m yours” Stevie Wonder sang as the first design thinking breakfast was getting started.  In this time during COVID-19, connecting with people virtually has never been more important. The first…

Design Thinking in Biomedical Engineering

“What kind of research needs to be done before brainstorming? How to incorporate many voices? How to get unstuck in brainstorming/design thinking?” “How to combine ideas with teammates and talk through differences–if one opinion doesn’t think an idea is feasible,…

Design thinking in Applied Math Education

A college student sits in an Applied Math class waiting for the lecture to begin. As the professor introduces the three guests who were expected to talk about design thinking, the lights flicker. “OMG what’s going on,” cries one of…

A 5-step process to design difficult and meaningful conversations

 By Samantha Fleurinor, Taylor Center Senior Program Coordinator Design thinking (DT) often elicits images of post it notes flying across the room, groups huddled over coarse prototypes made of cheap material, and enthusiastic millennials who are ready to take criticism…

Building Empathy during Quarantine by Journey Mapping Daily Routines

Written by Tran Nguyen-Phuong, Taylor Center 2019-2020 Design Thinking Student Fellow and Erica Casareno, Taylor Center 2019-2020 Communications Student Fellow. Uncertainty is an unavoidable element of life. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to recognize this fact more than ever before.…

Máille Faughnan leads session on(re)framing practices in design thinking

On Friday, May 15, 2020, I led a session on (re)framing practices in design thinking for the monthly Design Thinking the New Orleans Way virtual breakfast series. The purpose was to invite participants to reflect on how we can “frame”…

3 Design Thinking Lessons to Overcome Perfectionism

Written by Tran Nguyen-Phong, Taylor Center 2019-2020 Design Thinking Student Fellow. Albert Einstein was right when he stated that “you can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created.” Moving beyond what is safe and familiar is necessary…

Learning Roman Fables with design thinking 

In Spring 2020, Dr. Mallory Monaco Caterine challenged her students to create an inclusive, accessible Classically-based curriculum for New Orleans youth using the tools of design thinking. The seven students in her “Roman Fables” course spent the semester building their…

How Design Thinking is Intuitive… And How it’s Not

Written by Ruby Murfield,  Taylor Center 2019-2020 Design Thinking Student Fellow. As the academic year comes to a hectic close, my time as a student fellow at the Taylor Center ends, and it’s time to reflect on a whirlwind year.…

Fast 48 @ 10” visual-rich report ready for viewing

The Taylor Center Research & Scholarship (R&S) team identified the long-running “Fast 48” design thinking weekend workshop as a priority for internal program review back in 2017. When this internal learning process started, the tenth Fast 48 was just coming up,…

DT NOW March 2020

On March 20, Dr. Lesely-Ann Noel co-hosted our monthly virtual breakfast with Lisa Cates, the president of the New Orleans Photo Alliance. DT NOW an abbreviation for Design Thinking the New Orleans Way, our monthly design thinking networking breakfast. At…

Taylor leads Design Thinking Workshop with Police Officers and Community Members

"How might we work together to build a more just, healthy and equitable city?” In Fall 2019, the Crescent City Corps contacted Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel, Taylor’s Associate Director of Design Thinking, to create a one-day design thinking workshop with a…

Taylor Team Presenting at the March 2020 AAC&U Diversity, Equity and Student Success Conference

The Taylor team will be attending the upcoming Diversity, Equity and Student Success conference here in New Orleans. Four members of the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation will be presenting at the convocation, hosted by the Association of American Colleges and…

Taylor Center Announces PIVOT Un-Conference for Summer 2020

What does a world of many centers look like? How might we get there? The Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking (Taylor) at Tulane University  together with the The Pluriversal Design Special Interest Group of the Design…

Taylor Hosts Xavier University Design Thinking Retreat

On Saturday, January 25 , Taylor’s Warehouse District location was buzzing with activity: “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys was blaring in the background and students belted out the lyrics, fully immersed in their design work. Most…

Taylor Hosts Dance and Design Thinking Retreat

Taylor Center staff and colleagues participated in a design thinking capacity-building retreat on December 9, 2019 at Taylor’s Warehouse District location. The aim of this active and experimental workshop was to build design thinking abilities by introducing participants to several…

Fall 2019 Silent Scholars’ Writing Retreat

On November 1, the Taylor Center hosted its first Silent Scholars’ Writing Retreat of Fall 2019 semester at the Taylor Center’s Warehouse District location. Thirteen scholars, including Tulane faculty, Tulane graduate students, and a local writer—gathered to ‘silently’ work on…

Taylor offers free material for teaching students about social impact careers

By: Barri Bronston The Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University has developed an online library with materials such as instructor guides, videos, worksheets and other resources to assist educators in helping university students…

Design Thinking in Action: From the Classroom to Duncan Plaza

Photo Courtesy: Cordula Roser Gray. By: Alexandra Greengrass. “I always have seen the relationship between architecture and design thinking as an intricately connected one…”, said SE Professor Cordula Roser Gray. Roser Gray says the elements of design thinking are very…

Fresh Food for New Orleanians, by design: The Liberty’s Kitchen + Top Box Foods Design Krewe

Photo: Anjali Prasertong Video: Jennifer Scarnato Miller Check out this video to learn more about a  collaboration. The Design Krewe was a project with Liberty’s Kitchen (LK) and Top Box Foods (TBF), where Taylor trained selected graduates of the Liberty…

Climate change specialist speaks to students on challenges and opportunities in the field

Juan Carlos Monterrey-Gómez never intended to be negotiating climate change policy at the United Nations barely a year after graduation. After earning a degree in economics and international development from Tulane University in 2014, the Panama native landed a job in…

Built for each other: Taylor and PlayBuild NOLA

Photo: PlayBuild NOLA/Facebook Running a nonprofit is not for the faint of heart. Constantly faced with a lack of time, money and resources, immediate needs compete with long-term planning and strategy for attention. Angela Kyle, founder of local nonprofit PlayBuild…

Coffee and creativity fuel introductory design thinking workshop

Living with water, and often flooding, is a fact of life for Louisiana residents. With the destruction from three major hurricanes fresh in the headlines, staff, students and community members came together to learn design thinking principles while rethinking the…

SISE class uses design thinking to help local organizations

Empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test. Five words to live by for students in Professor Allison Schiller’s Design Thinking for Collective Impact class. A core in the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship minor, SISE 3010 introduces participants to the design thinking…

Social Entrepreneurship Professor launches website to elevate community voices

Two years ago, Dr. Vicki Mayer hatched a plan to create a user-focused online platform that documents and preserves New Orleans culture. This week, with the official launch of, that dream becomes a reality. is a fusion of…

FAST 48 VIII scheduled for November 10-12, open for registration

FAST 48 is an immersive boot camp to cultivate mindsets and practical skills in human-centered design (HCD). It’s designed for graduate students, scholars, and professionals— scientists, artists, teachers, health promoters, business owners, non-profit directors, administrators. We welcome a diverse group…

How Might We Weather the Storm Season?

A Team-based Introductory Design Workshop Last Friday, about 18 participants came from Tulane and local community to join our final “Design Thinking and Donuts” of the year for a Team Challenge to Plan for Hurricane Season. Participants came from local…

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is used by organizations around the world to generate new ideas for schools, offices, organizations, and communities—creating better experiences, systems, and services.

In Taylor design thinking workshops and trainings, you will learn to:

  • Visualize and share issues and ideas with others
  • Work collaboratively, inspiring others and engaging communities
  • Be more creative
  • Define and re-frame problems
  • Use rapid prototyping to counteract “analysis paralysis”
  • Practice a “bias to action”
  • Consider distinct end-users and different points of view

Human centered design brought us:

  • the computer mouse
  • touch screens and graphical user interfaces (GUI)
  • better micro-solar energy products and services
  • mobile-phone based financial services

Design Thinking Programming

Design Thinking Breakfast w/ Marcelo Paiva: Designing for your future self

Design Thinking Breakfasts

Design Thinking Gumbo

Experiments in Design-based Learning

PIVOT 2020

S1:E1 Tanya Marie Williams-Rhule

The Fast 48

Virtual Workshop: Using design thinking to shape discussions around Coronavirus

An aqua circle "badge" with text in white print that reads: "Introduction to Design Thinking Taylor Tulane University."

Design Thinking Badges

  • Did you know you can earn badges when you do our workshops?
  • The Taylor Design Thinking team sends an Introduction to Design Thinking Credly badge on Linkedin to people who attend our workshops. You can share this badge on your LinkedIn profile or via social media.
  • Interested in learning more about attending a Taylor design thinking workshop? Contact Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel at

Design Thinking Team

Laura Murphy

Laura Murphy, Ph.D.

Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel smiling and sitting in front of trees.

Lesley-Ann Noel, Ph.D.

Maille Faughnan

Máille Faughnan, Ph.D.

Man wearing a white shirting, sitting on a chair in front of a blue wall.

Max Esperance

Woman smiling standing on a cliff near the ocean.

Michaeline Anglemire

Woman smiling wearing a red sweater in front of a lake.

Niesha Ford

Samantha Fleurinor

Samantha Fleurinor

Woman smiling wearing black clothes in front of a white wall.

Shaymaa Abdalal

Woman smiling wearing a blazer.

Sneha Rout

Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel smiling and sitting in front of trees.

Get Involved

Tulane students, faculty, staff, and community members can learn design thinking with us.

To get involved, email Associate Director of Design Thinking Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel at

Reimagining Public Safety in American Cities

Virtual Event

In this virtual program, presented in partnership with Tulane's Newcomb Art Museum and moderated by Dr. Lesley Ann Noel; Brent Godfrey (Crescent City Corps), Ameca Reali (Law For Black Lives), and Christopher Rabb (Pennsylvania state House of Representatives) will respond…


February Design Thinking Breakfast with Louie Montoya

Virtual Event

Design Thinking Breakfast Guest Host Louie Montoya is a learning experience designer at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design K12lab. Louie works with educators on learning and implementing design in the classroom.


March Design Thinking Breakfast

Virtual Event

Design Thinking Breakfast guest host Raja Schaar, IDSA is Program Director and Assistant Professor of Product Design at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.

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