Estimator Socialization in Design Thinking: The Dynamic Process of Learning How to Judge Creative Work

  • Julia P. A. von ThienenEmail author
  • Steven Ney
  • Christoph Meinel
Part of the Creativity Theory and Action in Education book series (CTAE, volume 4)


The assessment of ideas is a central activity in creative processes. Since teachers and coaches guide the learning of students, their assessment styles are particularly consequential. We report a longitudinal study, comparing the idea evaluation style of coaches before and after they are trained in the innovation paradigm design thinking. Initially, the coaches display a static idea assessment style. They attribute value primarily based on the requirement that ideas should be immediately effective, regardless of whether students are in the middle or in a late stage of their creative process. After being trained, the coaches have developed a dynamic, process-oriented evaluation style. They also assess ideas in line with design thinking values, with one exception. Contrary to design thinking teachings, the coaches do not come to value idea originality. The chapter closes with considerations how to facilitate the acceptance of original ideas.


Assessment style Creativity education Design thinking Effectiveness Estimation ability Evaluation style Idea assessment Idea evaluation Longitudinal study Originality Value estimation 



We thank Ronald Beghetto and Giovanni Emanuele Corazza for inviting this research to be part of their comprehensive project on dynamic perspectives in creativity education and helpful feedback on our first draft. We thank the participants of the Certification Program for Design Thinking Coaches in the summer semester of 2017 at the HPI Potsdam for taking part in our survey and for their openness to subsequent individual discussions of study results. We thank Toni Mattis for the permission to print his picture.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia P. A. von Thienen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven Ney
    • 2
  • Christoph Meinel
    • 3
  1. 1.Digital Engineering FacultyUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.HPI AcademyPotsdamGermany
  3. 3.Hasso Plattner Institute at the University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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