Catalysts for design thinking and engineering thinking: Fostering Ambidextrous Mindsets for Innovation

Micah Lande

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Scopus citations


    Design transforms people and the stuff they make. How technical engineers learn and advance a human-centered design approach, and what catalysts for their learning exist, is illustrated with research done with student mechanical engineering designers engaged in work practice. Ambidextrous Mindsets for Innovation is a framework for relating designerly ways of knowing-doing-acting and engineering ways of knowing-doing-acting. Several emergent themes have arisen as supports to the students successfully adapting a design thinking and prototyping culture based on the researcher's observations of student teams. These observations have revealed some catalysts for student learning. They are facilitated by a situative zeitgeist-a close proximity to other groups in a shared design space or project loft, scaffolded prototyping-a series of front-loaded prototype milestone assignments, cognitive iteration-a practice of encouraging reflection on what is gained from prototyping, and cognitive apprenticeship-learning aided by repeatedly stepping through the steps of the design process. These practices and local customs improve the students' learning experiences.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1356-1363
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2016


    • Catalysts for design learning
    • Design thinking
    • Engineering thinking
    • Systems thinking

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Engineering(all)
    • Education

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