2021 Design Thinking Fundamentals A

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Engineering Sciences and Design
Saito Shigeki  Sakamoto Hiraku  Inaba Kazuaki  Taoka Yuki  Terui Ryo 
Class Format
Lecture / Exercise     
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon5-8(Ishikawadai Bldg.5 , Desaign Factory and S323)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

This class provides students an opportunity to learn the knowledge and the capability needed in "Design Thinking" approach through intensive lectures and practices of a long-term project. The class starts with the question, "What is Design Thinking?". The students are requested to understand and master the way of thinking in "Design Thinking" approach about how to find and solve the problem from the fundamental level. The knowledge and skill obtained in this class is highly related to the following projects related to engineering design. When engineers faces various problems, they must know how to solve them with strong viewpoint of key issues in problems. Therefore, students learn fundamental five steps; Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test, and understand how to use the steps through basic exercises. They also experience the iterating processes from "finding potential user needs" to "ideating as making solutions to problems".

Student learning outcomes

The goal is to understand fundamental five steps of "Design Thinking" approach; Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test, through lectures and practices of a long-term project.


Design Thinking, Project-Based-Learning (PBL)

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

DTF-A (held on Monday in English at Design Factory, Ishikawadai 5th bldg., 3rd floor)
Students are supposed to have a group work under instructors' supervision. The class style is Project-Based-Learning (PBL).
In the Design Thinking Fundamentals A, lectures are given mainly in English.
In the Design Thinking Fundamentals B, lectures are given mainly in Japanese.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 DTF-A (held on Monday in English at Design Factory) Each instructor specifies her/his class schedule. Design Thinking Fundamentals Course Structure Module 1: Introduction to Design Thinking Module 2: Research & Inspiration Module 3: Synthesis & Opportunity Areas Module 4: Ideation & Concept Development Module 5: Prototyping Module 6: Storytelling Module 7: Final Presentation Each instructor indicates assignment.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Each instructor specifies textbooks.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Each instructor specifies materials.

Assessment criteria and methods

Each instructor specifies criterion and methods for assessment.

Related courses

  • ESD.A501 : Engineering Design Project A
  • ESD.A502 : Engineering Design Project B
  • ESD.A503 : Engineering Design Project C
  • ESD.B401 : Engineering Design Advanced
  • ESD.B402 : Engineering Design Project

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Each instructor specifies requirements for her/his class.


There are DTF-A and B. DTF-A will be taught in English (on Monday) and DTF-B in Japanese (on Saturday). Since S323 will not be used, please come to Ishikawadai Bldg. No. 5 3rd Floor Design Factory. Ishikawadai Bldg. No. 5 cannot be entered without registration, so TA will be on standby at the entrance. Please be careful not to be late. (Please note the announcement from the university as it is possible that the course will be offered online by Zoom depending on the situation of COVID-19.)

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