WEP Sessions Highlight the Importance of Design Thinking at KAUST

During next week’s KAUST Winter Enrichment Program (WEP), Innovation and Economic Development’s Entrepreneurship Center will be delivering a program for students called ‘ICED in the Desert,’ which combines teaching and workshops on innovation, creativity entrepreneurship and design thinking.

As part of these sessions, attendees will learn how design-thinking approaches can help them conceive innovative solutions that appeal to people both emotionally and intellectually.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a methodology of problem solving that is human-centered and involves empathy for the end user in order to create innovative solutions to the challenges facing business and society.

It involves engaging with people from a broad range of backgrounds to create new products and services, business processes, new brands etc. This focus on the end-user helps avoid the common problem of entrepreneurs promoting inappropriate solutions and ensures that solutions are rooted in the needs and desires of the community at large.

Design thinking creates new team dynamics for organizations that apply it to their day-to-day operations. Keeping the end user at the center of the solution is simply the game changer.

Design thinking is often used to address global issues such as poverty, nutrition and economic empowerment. It can be used as a tool to create transformational change in under-served, underrepresented and disadvantaged communities worldwide.

Why Design Thinking is Important for Saudi Arabia

The concept of design thinking is important to a wide variety of companies and organizations in the Kingdom. We already deliver design thinking lectures as part of our corporate innovation program (REVelate), which has been attended by organizations ranging from Saudi Aramco to Islamic Development Bank to Saudia. These organizations are keen to support innovation and new product development, and design thinking is a key part of helping staff and management to develop exciting new ideas for the future.

Design thinking is also of wider importance for KAUST and our innovation agenda, as we seek to create and leverage partnerships, resources and strategies into products and services that benefit society, especially in four areas of global significance—food, water, energy and the environment.

ICED in the Desert, a week long program at WEP, will take place from January 10 to 14, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

More information is available at the WEP registration page.