“I Use It Every Day”: Pathways to Adaptive Innovation After Graduate Study in Design Thinking

  • Adam Royalty
  • Lindsay Oishi
  • Bernard Roth
Part of the Understanding Innovation book series (UNDINNO)


As the demand for creative and adaptive workers grows, universities strive to develop curricula that enable innovation. A pedagogical approach from the field of engineering and design, often called design thinking, is widely thought to foster creative ability; however, there is little research on how graduates of design thinking programs develop and demonstrate creative skills or dispositions. This chapter proposes a new model for the development of creative competence through design thinking education, and investigates alumni outcomes from a graduate school of design thinking. Quantitative and qualitative data from a survey (N = 175) and in-depth follow-up interviews (N = 16), indicate that alumni apply a range of design thinking methods and dispositions in their professional lives, particularly related to creative confidence, comfort with risk and failure, and building creative environments. We explore potential mechanisms by which students develop these capacities and foreshadow future analysis of obstacles to innovation in the workplace.


Professional Life Social Entrepreneurship Design Thinking Creative Class Process Fluency 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Royalty
    • 1
  • Lindsay Oishi
    • 1
  • Bernard Roth
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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