Finding the Design Thinking Community

“How do I find others who share my passion for design thinking?”

That was one of the first questions I asked as I immersed deeper into the world of design thinking. I wanted to meet individuals who shared my passion for design thinking but didn’t know where to start. I’ve found schools, meet-up groups, & online communities to be some of the richest areas to find fellow design thinkers.

Schools

For those who’ve received formal training in design-thinking, the easiest & most obvious place to meet other design thinkers is through your school and fellow classmates. It’s one of the benefits of enrolling in a design thinking class through an institution like General Assembly or Stanford d.School. Large universities like the University of Washington (http://comotion.uw.edu/) also have dedicated innovation departments with plenty of design thinking expertise and opportunities to connect.

Online design thinking classes can also offer fantastic opportunities to connect with the design thinking community. For example, both IDEO U and Coursera offer online design thinking classes with very active message boards and ample opportunity to meet others. IDEO U in particular, provides some great opportunities to create cohorts with fellow students.

Meet-up Groups

There are also plenty of local design thinking groups for people who live in larger metropolitan areas.  IDEO & AIGA are national organizations in the design-thinking space, with many regional groups that one can join.

  • OpenIDEO – https://beta.openideo.com/chapters?
  • AIGA – http://www.aiga.org/benefits/

In addition to these national organizations, I was pleasantly surprised by the power of Meetup.com. There are quite a few design thinking meetups throughout the US with plenty of members. Seattle’s Design Thinking & Innovation Collective for example, has well over 3,000 members!

Online

Online networks are the final area I’ve explored. Thus far, I have experience with Design Thinkers Academy Network, LinkedIn, & Google+.

Design Thinkers Academy Network has well over 6,000 members globally and lots of interesting content that I admittedly, have just recently begun exploring. (http://www.designthinkingnetwork.com/)

LinkedIn’s largest design thinking groups include ‘Design Thinking’ and ‘Design Thinking Group’. Both groups have lots of members but limited real “dialogue” (most posts consist of people pitching their organization and services).

Google+ has only a few, small groups with little content. The best I’ve found is ‘Design Thinking Exploration’; a good portion of the content comes directly from the group ‘owner’ but there are other regular contributors as well.

Insider Tip: If you’re having trouble finding design thinking communities, look for the following keywords that often overlap or are adjacent to design thinking:  UX, Agile, CX, Design, Service Design Thinking, Human Centered Design (HCD), Innovation

In summary, there are many ways to immediately engage with the design thinking community, both online and in-person. Don’t hesitate to leverage the power of shared learning and enjoy the camaraderie of joining a design thinking community. Finally, please do let me know of other great design thinking communities I haven’t mentioned as I’m always on the lookout for more!

  1. Joseph Broughton August 31, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    In education, we have a community that mainly uses Twitter. On Wednesday nights, we meet to discuss the application of design thinking in education using #dtk12chat.

    Reply

    1. accidentaldesignthinker August 31, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Wow Joseph, that’s awesome and I was completely unaware. I’ve seen the hashtag come through my feed but had no idea it was a 24/7 conversation on design thinking thinking and a scheduled live chat. Thanks a ton for the tip and I’ll need to add it to my article!

      Reply

  2. You should check out the DMBA (Design Strategy MBA by CCA https://www.cca.edu/academics/graduate/design-mba ) It’s a masters degree which applies design research, design thinking methodologies throughout the 2 years. I’m an alumni, and It’s one of the best design programs in the country, also the best of its kind.
    (http://www.ranker.com/list/best-30-design-programs-in-the-world/college-info?&ref=mshare&source=emshare)
    If you ever want to talk about it, let me know! I’ll be happy to share.

    My best.
    Isabel

    Reply

  3. […] Connect with the DT community – Don’t go it solo. Find others to learn from and partner with. The design thinking community is fantastic with plenty of experts to help you go deeper into the field. As I’ve immersed myself into DT, I continue to be amazed with the cool things people are doing with design thinking and the new ways it’s being applied. Even if you’re not passionate about DT, there’s incredible value in being part of a community that features intelligent, passionate, sharing do-gooders seeking to solve important problems throughout the world. Here are some quick pointers for quickly connecting with the design thinking community. […]

    Reply

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