Expanding Design Thinking with Methods from Futures Studies. Reflections on a Workshop with Chinese User Experience Students

  • Ellen De VosEmail author
  • Xin Xin
  • Marina Emmanouil
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10919)


Design thinking can be seen as a fundamental premise to approach solving a problem in an innovative way [1]. It is especially valuable at situations in which challenges are complex and ambiguous. Design thinking includes two distinct approaches: diverging and converging. It requires both a flexible way of understanding, to come with various ideas, and know-how to make informed decisions. These opposing activities are poured into an explanatory model. However, a rigorous design thinking process might be considered as a limitation on creative thinking. Also, the promise of a straightforward all-in-one solution for complex problems seems rather unrealistic [1]. Futures studies exceed design thinking on the aspect of the acceptance of plausible options by freeing the apparent certainties [2]. This is primarily useful at the early phase of a design thinking practice when the problem should be explored. Whether a focus on the future context of a designed product could be recognized as added value, must still be inquired. This is a reflective paper on a two-day workshop developed for User Experience students in China that applied techniques from futures studies combined with design thinking and narrative techniques. In particular, the participants were design thinking newbies used to operate in an educational context with focus on traditional lecture-based pedagogy [3].


Design thinking Practice Novices Creativity 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ghent UniversityKortrijkBelgium
  2. 2.Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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