ADA4500 - Design thinking approaches - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Art, Design and Architecture


Dr Kate Tregloan

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (On-campus block of classes)
  • Second semester 2017 (On-campus block of classes)
  • Term 2 2017 (On-campus block of classes)
  • Term 4 2017 (On-campus block of classes)



This unit is developed to introduce non-cognate students in Masters courses to Design Thinking, and to its application within a wide range of problems and situations. These skills and strategies include a range of conceptual and communication approaches, ways to investigate and reconsider the context in which we work and live, as well as potential for innovation. Design Thinking brings together some approaches that are known in the sciences and humanities, such as analysis and synthesis, but applies them in ways that are particular to a design approach. Design Thinking can enable a more flexible approach to problems, and a more nuanced engagement with the complex issues of our contemporary world. This unit will introduce students to the key skills and practices associated with Design Thinking, and offer opportunities to explore the application of these basic creativity techniques. The course is delivered partly on-line, with lectures and workshops offering key activities supporting students' learning.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate understanding of the concepts of Design Thinking and their application;
  2. identify and analyse ill-defined, real-world project problems and relevant Design Thinking approaches;
  3. apply Design Thinking methods and approaches to a project-based problem, to develop new perspectives on key issues and to identify potential opportunities;
  4. develop, test and evaluate original proposals in response to project-based problems;
  5. develop an awareness of their preferred approaches to complex tasks, and ways these may be extended through Design Thinking.


Investigations (20%)

Testing and refinement (20%)

Proposition and presentation (30%)

Reflection (30%)

Workload requirements

12 hours per week, including an average of 3 contact hours (in person or online) and 9 hours of independent study or equivalent

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students enrolled in Master of Design program: MDC4500, MDC4550;

For students enrolled in non-cognate courses: Nil