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Video: Industrial design professor Scott Shim on contextual applications of design thinking

Author: Todd Boruff

“People think that if you are given a problem, that you can have a successful outcome. However, what if you were solving the wrong problem?” asked Scott Shim, professor of industrial design at the University of Notre Dame.

Shim’s research is in contextual application of design thinking, examining all the components of a specific problem by conducting in-depth studies of users, environments, and circumstances.

His primary method of research is “co-creation,” where end users are directly engaged in the design process. Shim will invite participants to build with Legos or re-enact certain scenarios in order to develop new ideas.

“As you get them engaged in this making process, they tell you more and they'll tell you the insights that you don't really get through traditional surveys and interviews,” he said.

Because of our complex society, Shim feels that design problems need to be approached holistically. The fact that Notre Dame’s design program is offered in the context of a liberal arts education, Shim said, allows students to be “cross-disciplinary” and “fully engaged as a holistic thinker.” 

“They are able to take these design methodologies and implement them into solving big-scale problems,” Shim said.

You can also watch this video on YouTube.