The power of Design Thinking: equipping future leaders

The power of Design Thinking: equipping future leaders

In this article, professor of practice Serena Leonardi highlights the power of Design Thinking.

The economic landscape is evolving at an unprecedented pace, demanding graduates with not only technical expertise but also the adaptability, creativity, and problem-solving skills necessary to thrive in this dynamic environment.

In a context where 300 million jobs could be substituted by Artificial Intelligence by 2030 [Goldman Sachs, 2023], Companies should emphasize the need for individuals who can excel in human-centric roles, as a fundamental asset to retain strategic advantage. This is why Design Thinking, a user-centered and holistic approach to innovation, emerges as a critical approach for future workers.

At H-FARM College, we recognize the transformative power of Design Thinking and integrate its principles into our Master’s Degrees in Digital Marketing & Data Analytics and Digital Transformation & Entrepreneurship.

My role as a visiting professor allows me to guide students through a unique learning experience, which is designed to equip them with the hard and soft skills crucial for success in their future careers.

Developing Skills for the Future

Our Design Thinking course adopts a human-centered and systemic perspective, enhancing empathy and user understanding. The course is project-based and students are divided into multidisciplinary groups. In particular, each group applies the methodology to a project challenge that they personally derived from the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, in the attempt to generate innovative solutions tackling sustainability issues.

During the interactive teaching sessions and collaborative projects, students engage in the different stages of Design Thinking process:

  • Empathize: they learn to actively listen and observe users through interviews, surveys, and qualitative research. This fosters empathy and helps them understand user needs and motivations on a deeper level.
  • Define: using the gathered insights, students work collaboratively to define the core problem faced by users. This stage encourages critical thinking and the ability to synthesize information effectively.
  • Ideate: equipped with a clear understanding of the problem, they unleash their creativity through brainstorming sessions. This fosters innovative thinking and the ability to generate a diverse range of solutions, which are tailored to the user’s needs.
  • Prototype: students develop low-fidelity prototypes (both digital and physical) of their proposed solutions, allowing them to rapidly test and iterate based on user feedback. This promotes experimental learning and adaptability in the face of new information.
  • Test: the final stage involves testing and refining prototypes with real users. This allows students to validate their solutions, measure their effectiveness, and ensure they truly address the identified need, in a constant pursuit of continuous improvement and innovation.

Beyond Skills: Building a Well-Rounded Workforce

H-FARM College prioritizes the development of well-rounded individuals who can thrive in the collaborative environments of today’s workplaces. The course in Design Thinking contributes to this cause by fostering:

  • Group Collaboration: working in diverse teams, students learn to communicate effectively, manage conflict constructively, and leverage the strengths of each individual.
  • Visual Communication: they acquire skills in creating compelling visual representations of their ideas, promoting clear communication and engagement of the involved stakeholders.
  • Strategic Thinking: the course equips students with the ability to think critically, analyze information, and make informed decisions based on user-centered insights and on the context.
  • Problem-Solving: students develop structured problem-solving frameworks and adaptable methodologies to tackle complex challenges in the real world.

At H-FARM College, we believe that education should be empowering and transformative. For this reason, we equip our students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be the architects of a brighter future. 

If you’re seeking an innovative and human-centered approach to learning, we invite you to explore our educational offer and discover how H-FARM College can be your partner on your journey to success, with the power of Design Thinking as well.

Serena Leonardi, Professor of Practice

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