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The Design Thinking Toolbox

Explore the five stages of the Design Thinking process, and learn the tools and tips you need to create great design.

517 enrolled on this course

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Learn how to master the Design Thinking process

The Design Thinking process is an invaluable method of structuring a design project.

On this course, you’ll explore the five steps of the process – Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

You’ll gain practical experience in applying these key design tools alongside thought leaders in the field.

Understand how to use different Design Thinking tools

Within each of the five stages, there are different tools that you can use to aid the design process.

You’ll explore the design toolbox at each stage of the process, and gain confidence in knowing what tools to use, as well as any potential pitfalls.

Learn Design Thinking alongside Wintec’s experts

Aidan Bigham, lead coach in the Design Factory Team at Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), is a seasoned expert in the science of design.

He’ll walk you through every aspect of the design process, leaving you full of confidence in your ability to use every design tool available to you.


  • Week 1

    Design Thinking and Empathy

    • Introducing the Course - the Design Thinking Toolbox

      Welcome, for anyone that is familiar with DT and is starting out on the journey, might also be interested in our other course - Design Thinking for Sustainable Development.

    • The Design Thinking Process

      This Is the Design Thinking process that we use within Design Factory New Zealand. There are many Design Thinking models though, and this toolbox can be used with them all.

    • Empathy

      Empathy is the first stage of our Design Thinking Process. Let's have a look at some of the tools that are really useful in understanding our challenge from our users perspective.

    • Reflect

      It's important that every time you use a tool, you learn from it. There is always something new that can be applied, or there are ways the tools can be adapted to suit your needs. Let's reflect on what you have learnt.

  • Week 2

    Define and Ideate

    • The Define Stage

      Let's look at the define stage and the tools and mindsets that are commonly used.

    • Ideate

      Ideate is the stage where we explore the solution space to come up with as many solutions as possible. In this stage we "flare" or diverge rather than "focus". Have a read of some of the tools we use to create great ideas.

    • Reflect

      It's important that every time you use a tool, you learn from it. There is always something new that can be applied, or there are ways the tools can be adapted to suit your needs. Let's reflect on what you have learnt.

  • Week 3

    Prototype, User Testing and Next Steps

    • Prototype

      The Prototype stage is the fourth stage of the Design Thinking process. In this stage we build our concepts, to learn what works and to get ready to test with our users.

    • User Testing

      In the final phase we test. When we test our prototypes we seek to understand whether our ideas are desirable, feasible and viable. We test to learn how we can improve our concept or if we need to throw it out completely!

    • Reflect

      It's important that every time you use a tool, you learn from it. There is always something new that can be applied, or there are ways the tools can be adapted to suit your needs. Let's reflect on what you have learnt.

    • Wrap Up and Next Steps

      Let's reflect on our learnings and what you may want to trial next.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Understand the appropriateness of a tool for a Design Thinking Stage
  • Understand the 5 stages of the Design Thinking Process
  • Recognise and apply Design Thinking tools

Who is the course for?

The course would suit people familiar with the Design Thinking process, who would like to learn about the tools that can be used in each stage, or would like to be refreshed on the use of Design Thinking tools. It would also benefit learners who completed Design Thinking for a Sustainable Future.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Principal Academic Staff member at WINTEC with 20 years experience in tertiary education. Most recently I have been successfully leading Design Thinking teams in solving industry challenges.

Who developed the course?


The Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) is a leading tertiary education provider and one of New Zealand’s largest Institutes of Technology. Established in 1924, Wintec delivers technical, vocational, and professional education across a broad range of qualifications, domestically and internationally.

Te Pūkenga

Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology is the New Zealand governmental network of 16 subsidiary tertiary education providers, which were formerly known as institutes of technology and polytechnics. The network delivers world class professional, vocational, and applied learning from certificate through to PhD level.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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