It’s BACK TO SCHOOL TIME, my fellow Emersonians, and just because the school start is a few weeks away does not mean we have to wait until then to learn something new! With that in mind, let’s review a bit about design thinking and how it can help your career.

You recently graduated, or maybe you’ve been out of school for a while and looking for a new job, perhaps in a completely different field than the one you’ve been in. Either way, it’s an exciting time to apply design thinking in a way that helps you not only envision, but plan your future.

Over time the term “design thinking” has gotten legs, and in recent years, has moved beyond just being used by businesses developing solutions and products for customers. All of us, for solving the problems of the world, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship, can apply design thinking if we so chose. For our work in career development, we’re eager to apply it for our next project: Your Career.

For a little insight, here are two definitions:

Design thinking utilizes elements from the designer’s toolkit like empathy and experimentation to arrive at innovative solutions. By using design thinking, you make decisions based on what future customers really want instead of relying only on historical data or making risky bets based on instinct instead of evidence.


Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused and action-oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end-user (the customer).


So how does this apply to you?

It’s safe to say that students are already applying some of this informally, and in the classroom, through projects, internships, failures, successes, etc. As students and alumni focus on setting career goals and managing career, it never hurts to add to the toolkit.

Design thinking allows you to approach career-planning in experimental ways where you’re mindful of the decisions you make, and what you learn about yourself in the process. It allows you to problem solve, be curious, and ask important questions that lead you to the answer of what career you’ll find the most fulfilling. A big takeaway is that you’re encouraged to think beyond just one career track. For students and new alumni, you can imagine and re-imagine your career with a spirit of curiosity, what we call, plain and simple, exploration. Last, through reflection, exercises, and being purposeful with experiences, you can also craft more of a compelling story for networking and interviews.

As we integrate this thinking into our existing work at the Career Development Center, we’re excited to work with students and alumni, as well as campus partners for designing careers and helping Emersonians design their futures!

See below for more info…

Recommended reading:

Books: Designing Your Life

Articles: This one and this one break down the topic with some great examples.

Have questions? We want to hear from you. Email us at

Categories: Tuesday Tips