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What is design thinking and why does it matter?

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30 October 2023

The ability to innovate and find creative solutions to complex problems is essential for industry success. With the increasing utilisation of artificial intelligence, there is a strong demand for creative problem solvers who can provide unique ideas.

Design thinking is leading this charge by using a non-linear approach to understand a consumer base and the issues they face, ideate solutions and develop prototypes to test.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over half of businesses reported introducing a form of innovation in the two-year period to 30 June 2021 (ABS 2022).

But it’s not only in business that design thinking matters. Design thinking is revolutionising industries across the globe. Clean Team Ghana is improving sanitisation for more than 3,000 homes with their full-circle approach to affordable toilets, offering installation and waste collection with no water or electricity needed. In the health sector, RightCare Solutions in the United States has reduced hospital readmissions by more than 25 per cent through the development of software that simplifies the post-acute care referral process and predicts which patients may need support after being discharged from hospital. Meanwhile, legal firm Seyfarth Shaw in the United States used design thinking to improve customer relationships by mapping out individual client needs, touchpoints and preferred methods of communication through a ‘client playbook’.

In order to prepare graduates to find solutions to the future challenges facing their industry, Southern Cross University is launching a new degree including design thinking.


New degree develops creative change agents

The Bachelor of Innovation with Honours will launch in 2024 and explores the application of design thinking to a wide range of industries, from business to circular economies.

The degree is a one-year full-time or two-year part-time course which combines creative practice and design-led innovation with research skills and project-based learning. Students will investigate real-life problems and develop creative solutions.

The course is a pathway from a wide range of Bachelor degrees for students who wish to build their knowledge in research and creative thinking. The degree is designed in collaboration with industry experts to meet employer needs and give graduates a competitive edge in the job market.

Associate Dean (Education) at SCU College, Associate Professor Suzi Syme, said the degree will cultivate agents of change with impact.

“Students will use subject knowledge expertise from their undergraduate degree in real-world scenarios while applying the latest research in innovation design, maximising the output of teams, advanced communication skills and more,” Associate Professor Syme said.

“It also meets the demand from employers for graduates who not only have academic grounding in evidence-based approaches to project management but also real-life application. They understand how to apply innovative solutions to complex global problems.”

Learn more about the Bachelor of Innovation with Honours.

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