Design thinking is a human-centered approach which helps to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions. When Design thinking method comes to mind, people may think about products or services for the customers. But the truth is, that the process starts at earlier than the stage of product and services development. First thing that need changing is the culture in which people are working in innovative way. The environment should be nurturing the change and innovative way of thinking, taking into consideration inclusivity.
Especially in ICT environment it is very important to look at potentially excluded groups of users (e.g. earlier born, that are not that familiar with new technologies and online world. The technologies are developed by younger and technically advanced people and used by quite large group of non-technical and not so familiar with the latest technologies groups of users). In order to teach young ICT students to take in mind all kinds of inclusivity, we need to prepare the university culture first.
ICT technologies are present in our everyday life in almost all activities that we are doing. So we feel that is even more crucial to start in this kind of “culture change” with teachers and subsequently with students from ICT-oriented programmes, to bring great young minds into to world of technology, that will always have in mind inclusive groups of their customers when developing innovative solutions. That is why we want to strongly focus on university teachers at the beginning, to prepare the environment with them and test it afterwards also with the students.
Last but not least, design thinking focused on inclusive solutions (inclusive design thinking) is method to understand everyone and treat everyone with respect they deserve, so it is not only about the product, service, process, culture development. It is a concept which ensures that even people who are initially excluded can use new products and services.