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Design Thinking

Learn design mindsets for your changemaking toolkit

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.

Ready to learn? View Taylor programming options below – all facilitated by Taylor staff and student fellows.

Still a little fuzzy on design thinking? Read our FAQ’s here.

Design Thinking and Donuts offers a short, fast-paced, immersive experience in human-centered design (with donuts and coffee!). Get a taste of being both a designer and user, working with a partner on a small problem.

Participants are led through a structured process to listen, learn, find opportunities, and generate creative solutions. During the 90-minute hands-on activity, concepts such as mindsets of empathy, a beginner’s mind, and a “bias toward action” are introduced. Teams end the program by reflecting on the process.

To get the full experience, plan to arrive on time and stay till the end. This paired DT and Donuts workshop can be taken before or after the Team Design Challenge, offered every few weeks. Both provide lively, energetic and direct exposure to the design process!

More information:

  • Prerequisites: No experience necessary.
  • Cost: Free!
  • Participants: Open to the public. Faculty, staff, students, and community members welcome.
  • Dates: Runs several times each semester. Check the Taylor events calendar for upcoming dates.
  • Register: Sign up in advance to save your space and receive reminders. Follow the calendar links to Eventbrite.

New to design thinking? Start with the free, public Team Design Workshop. Participants learn how to work in groups to process field data quickly, find insights, identify different end-users, rapid prototype, and test.

Team Design workshops are organized around a seasonal, real-life, common challenge we all face such as, “How might we improve the Mardi Gras parade-going experience?” or, “How might we better weather the coming storm season?

This workshop can be taken before or after the paired DT & Donuts crash course. Both are offered regularly and give lively, energetic exposure to the design process.  A team is not required to attend, participants will be formed into groups.

More information:

  • Prerequisites: No experience necessary
  • Cost: Free!
  • Audience: Open to the public. Students, faculty, staff and community members welcome.
  • Dates: Runs several times each semester. Check the Taylor events calendar for upcoming dates.
  • Register: Sign up in advance to book your space and receive reminders. Follow the calendar links to Eventbrite.

The FAST 48 weekend bootcamp teaches the basics of human-centered design via short cycles of individual and group learning with direct work in the community. Participants address a real challenge facing a community organization while learning immersive fieldwork methods, information synthesis and idea generation. Solutions from previous workshops have been put into practice to deliver better community-specific solutions.

Design mindsets and practical tools learned during FAST 48 include convergent/divergent thinking, managing a design team, group synthesis, solo ideation, group brainstorming, parallel rapid prototyping, and capturing user feedback.

Graduates of the FAST 48 workshop develop skills to practice and facilitate design for social impact. Participants span backgrounds and disciplines— from artists and architects, to teachers, engineers and public health professionals.

The FAST 48 serves graduate students, staff, faculty, educators, and community organizations interested in learning design thinking for their own work or organization.  If you have some design thinking exposure and/or know you seek in-depth practice, consider the FAST 48 bootcamp.

More information:

  • Fee: Graduate Student early registration – $60, Professional early bird – $90, late registration – $85-$120. This modest fee helps defray costs, including food.
  • Date:  March 6-8, 2020.
  • Times: Friday 6-9 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sunday 11-6 p.m
  • Registration: Sign up by sending an email to Laura Murphy at with the following:
    • Name,
    • Academic degree program, and/or organization and position
    • Cellphone number
    • Level of exposure to design thinking
    • Interest in the Fast 48 and how you might use the skills

Graduate students, are you interested in formal course credit for taking the Fast 48 workshop? If so, please consider the spring course, GCHB 6700, “Social Innovation Tools for Public Health Professionals”. It meets Thursday 5:30-8 PM downtown. The course is approved for MPH students in GCHB and open to other students outside GCHB. Please explore whether your program will allow it as an elective option. Contact the instructor at for more information about the course.

Click here for more information.

We are in transition this summer and we are unable to take on new applications for custom, “Taylorized” training and facilitation. Updates on Taylorized will be available in September, 2019.


As time and resources allow, the Taylor design team staff and Design Thinking Student Fellows can deliver “Taylorized” facilitations for Tulane units and community partners.

These trainings can:

  • Infuse your leadership or teaching team with an understanding of human centered design theory and practice
  • Build your own workplace capacity to apply design thinking to problems you face
  • Facilitate a process to help you solve the problem(s) you face

Workshops range from short, 1-2 hour tasters to longer multi-week consultings for teaching, extended coaching, and solution-seeking.

Taylor has facilitated trainings with groups such as Tulane Center for Public Service leadership institute, Hillel, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and Young African Leadership Institute.

Fee: By arrangement

How can I get started learning design thinking?

Tulane students, faculty, staff, and community members can learn design thinking with us. Check the table below for where to start and find more information on each programming option above.

More on 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 for rural Africans, mobile-phone based financial services for unbanked rural poor. Thanks to design thinking, we have better patient care, classroom innovations, government services, and food delivery for the elderly. In your own world, find small solutions to space more efficiently, organize better meetings, be more creative, and try out ideas with colleagues.


View our events calendar to for details on upcoming design thinking trainings and opportunities.

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