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Twitter Chat 2014-02-05: Design Thinking in Engineering

bb_twitterchatDesign thinking, a methodology for human-centered problem solving, empowers its users to collaborate across disciplines and tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Students are asked to solve problems, but they must also learn to define the problems themselves by working closely with the people for whom they are designing.

This focus on the human side of design is vital to create whole new engineers who empathize with their customers, reflect on their processes, work effectively in interdisciplinary teams, and have the courage to try over and over again when they fail.

How can design thinking help create whole new engineers? How do we balance technical skills with these “soft” creative skills? What are the challenges in bringing design thinking into the engineering classroom? Join us on February 5, 2014 at 8 PM EST for a Twitter chat to explore this together. Follow along using #BigBeacon.

About Laurie Moore

Laurie Moore will be tweeting questions from @EpicenterUSA. The National Center for Engineering Pathways for Innovation (Epicenter) is empowering U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. In Summer 2013, Laurie assisted Epicenter’s Deputy Director Leticia Britos Cavagnaro with the creation of the Design Thinking Action Lab (, a free open online course that featured multi-disciplinary team collaboration, experiential teaching techniques and a real-world innovation challenge. Learn more about Epicenter at

Further Reading:

The steps of the design thinking process:
  • Empathize: understanding the needs of those you are designing for
  • Define: framing problems as opportunities for creative solutions
  • Ideate: generating a range of possible solutions
  • Prototype: communicating the core elements of solutions to others
  • Test: learning what works and doesn’t work to improve solutions


“Design for humans needs to begin with developing understanding and empathy for human experience. It applies science and technology but also includes insights from the humanities and the social sciences. Engineers often love to jump right into making things, but early in the design process it’s often preferable to focus on deeply understanding the needs of end users.”Peter

Robbie, Associate Professor of Engineering, Dartmouth College

“Design Thinking” by Tim Brown, CEO and President, IDEO

How to Twitter Chat

If you’ve never Twitter chatted before, don’t worry; it’s very easy. First, get a Twitter account if you don’t already have one, and log in. At 8 PM ET on Wednesday go to and type #BigBeacon into the search box on Twitter. Thereafter all the tweets with the hashtag #BigBeacon will show up on your Twitter page. To participate, simply express your opinion by sending a tweet, and be sure to append the hashtag #BigBeacon so other members of the Twitter Chat see you are posting. Alternatively, automate the hashtag search and append feature by using the free service Tchat at For more information, read a longer post about #BigBeacon Twitter Chats here.

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