Phases of design thinking

Common to many design thinking models are the following phases:

  • Identifying and defining the problem
  • Researching and planning a solution
  • Producing and implementing a solution
  • Testing and evaluating the solution

The following graphic outlines these four key steps.

Image: Design thinking phases

When developing a STEM program, the phases embedded in design thinking provide a scaffold to build students’ understanding of the problem, to create innovative ideas and to develop a viable solution.

There are many design thinking models used across educational contexts. A great place to start is the department’s Digital Learning Selector design thinking tool. This interactive tool provides teachers and students with a series of activities and resources to support the design thinking process. Through stem.T4L, all NSW public schools have access to trial STEM kits and accompanying support resources, including lesson plans and tech tutorials.

Next up ➜

Learn how to develop a driving question or find out more about design thinking across the curriculum including watching a video introducing students to the design thinking process.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Learning resource

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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