Design Thinking: Our Compass

Design thinking is a people-centered problem solving method that promotes ethnography, empathy and iterative prototyping influenced by user testing. Collaborators are challenged to suspend judgment and leverage insights from a user group or individual to meet the needs derived from discovery and empathetic experiences. Design thinking is not a new way of generating solutions to the problems communities, organizations and people face; however, it has been seen as a very powerful and effective tool for teams to uncover hidden, ambiguous, and unknown truths about the experiences of those they are trying to solve for.

Our framework for design thinking is called Compass. The final pages of the Field Guide go into greater detail to explain the 4 main compass elements: Discover, Define, Design, Deploy

Real World Solutions For Real World Problems

Since those beginnings, Mount Vernon has become a national and international leader in design thinking, particularly in education. The learners and design thinkers at Mount Vernon have engaged in hundreds of challenges throughout the years.

Peachtree Station

In this opportunity, provided by Jeff Garrison from S.J. Collins Enterprises, senior executives had us concepting site plans for an outdoor community space that would be part of a larger high-end retail complex anchored by Whole Foods. After serveral rounds of feedback, iterations and a formal presentation, Peachtree Station is now a pocket park in the Atlanta area.

Alex Linkous' 3D Hand

Students in the Technology, Engineering and Design (TED) course at MVS partnered with eNable to create a 3D-printed, prosthetic hand for a teenage boy, Alex Linkous. Students were led through a design thinking challenge to iteratively prototype hands that would best serve Alex and his wish to drive and hold a Coca-Cola at the same time.

Voiceless - A Documentary

When Love Beyond Walls, an Atlanta non-profit, approached Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation (MVIFI) and Mount Vernon School about the premier of their new documentary, Voiceless, an authentic opportunity for students to experience another lap in design thinking emerged. After a three hour design sprint, over 100 prototypes were presented as potential solutions.

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Our Process

We create a customized strategy that outlines how to best guide you and your team on your transformation journey. This is an iterative process and works best with collaboration and feedback from you, the client.