Design Thinking

Innovation for Peak Performance

Appalachian State University's Design Thinking workshop presents the seven-step design thinking process in an experiential and systematic way to enable:

  1. Individuals to pursue personal mastery by enhancing their creativity and tapping into internal sources of energy and inspiration.
  2. Organizations to establish processes that foster collaboration and encourage innovation by embedding design thinking into their DNA.
  3. Leaders to nurture innovation by developing a culture and structure to support it.

About Design Thinking

Design thinking is an additional tool to integrate into your team's existing repertoire for solving business problems and driving improvement and innovation within your client accounts. Used to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for customers, design thinking is solution focused and action oriented. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning to explore possibilities of and create desired outcomes. More.


Mark Lewis
University Site | Personal Site | LinkedIn Site
Associate Professor of Management
Richard Elaver
Associate Professor of Industrial Design 
Mark LewisRichard Elaver


  • I lead a team of problem solvers and our ability to deliver maximum value hinges on how well we frame problems and how 'sticky' our solutions are. The Design Thinking course gave the entire team new tools to help us sharpen our problem framing skills as well as gave us new methods to better ideate and articulate creative solutions.
  • The Design Thinking Workshop provided a great overview of the discipline and it was delivered in a very interactive way that helped our team immediately apply the lessons into action. This approach allowed for a more dynamic learning environment and increased content retention. In addition, the professors are clearly passionate about the content and, as a result, were very engaging. Our team left the workshop very enthused and immediately began to apply the methodology in our work.
  • The design thinking workshop gave our team a vital opportunity to not only get out of our office environment, but to get out of our comfort zone and create without boundaries. The exercises/tools Mark and Richard used encouraged our team to dream and move our task-oriented thought processes into more of an innovative, 'color outside the lines' approach to our top challenges and opportunities.
  • The workshop helped our team let go of some 'baggage' and 'stop playing old tapes', so that we could entertain bold ideas and embrace new concepts.
  • The design thinking workshop challenged our team to answer the question... are we doing the right things? If you are willing to trust the process, which is expertly presented from both a business and a creative mindset, your team and your business will be better for it. As a team, we have noticed ourselves asking better questions on the front end, which has led to improved outcomes. Additionally, team morale is at an all-time high.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the design thinking workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Approach creative problem solving and innovation in a systematic way. 
  • Discover how design thinking can be beneficial for solving complex, multidimensional problems. 
  • Articulate the importance of thick data for developing deep insight into customer needs, desires, and aspirations. 
  • Apply specific tools and methodologies to enhance creativity, break fixation, and enable innovation. 
  • Recognize the limits of linear thinking and employ a pluralistic approach to discovery and innovation. 
  • Tap into the capacity of collective genius to support creative problem solving and co-create continuous innovation.

Sample Schedule

Day 1

  • 9:00 Welcome and Introductions
  • 9:30 Creativity, Design, Innovation, and Peak Performance
  • 10:00 Define the Challenge
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 1:00 Discover Your World
  • 3:00 Afternoon Break
  • 3:30 Isolating Opportunities and Issues

Day 2

  • 9:00 Ideate to Consider
  • 11:00 Incubate to Explore
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 1:00 Prototype to Revine
  • 2:00 Test to Iterate
  • 3:00 Final Solution Presentations
  • 4:00 Wrap up and Reflection


Next Steps

Interested this session?   Click here to find out next steps and view a schedule of our current offerings.