Catalysts for design thinking and engineering thinking: Fostering Ambidextrous Mindsets for Innovation

Micah Lande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Design transforms people and the stuff they make. How technical engineers learn and advance a human-centered design approach, and what catalysts for their learning exist, is illustrated with research done with student mechanical engineering designers engaged in work practice. Ambidextrous Mindsets for Innovation is a framework for relating designerly ways of knowing-doing-acting and engineering ways of knowing-doing-acting. Several emergent themes have arisen as supports to the students successfully adapting a design thinking and prototyping culture based on the researcher's observations of student teams. These observations have revealed some catalysts for student learning. They are facilitated by a situative zeitgeist-a close proximity to other groups in a shared design space or project loft, scaffolded prototyping-a series of front-loaded prototype milestone assignments, cognitive iteration-a practice of encouraging reflection on what is gained from prototyping, and cognitive apprenticeship-learning aided by repeatedly stepping through the steps of the design process. These practices and local customs improve the students' learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1356-1363
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


  • Catalysts for design learning
  • Design thinking
  • Engineering thinking
  • Systems thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Catalysts for design thinking and engineering thinking: Fostering Ambidextrous Mindsets for Innovation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this