The design thinking process is what lead to all of the amazing inventions presented at this year’s DesignPitch. The process starts with discovery, in which the participants consider the problem and interview those affected by the problem. After their problems were revealed, each group found their own space around campus to start their design thinking journey.

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The next day, while in the beautiful Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, each design group moved on to the next step of the process, interpretation. In this stage, the groups expand on the problem and questions they are trying to answer with their eventual solution. In addition, each group made a specific user profile for which the product would be designed. These two initial steps left the groups ready to create one of a kind solutions to some of the world’s most complex environmental problems.

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During the ideation stage, the groups took individual brainstorming time in which they each came up with many ideas. This stage was the only one that involved so much individual work, but was especially beneficial to groups who had more reserved members. After writing their ideas on sticky notes, the groups considered all of the proposed ideas. The ideation stage was vital for the next stage, experimentation. Nour, of Morocco, stated, “It was a pleasure to hear different opinions from different countries in order to make an amazing prototype.”

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Experimentation was the stage in which each group finalized their idea and made an initial prototype. Making these simple models helped each group to realize the strong points but also the shortcomings of their designs.

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After each design was finalized, the groups practiced many times in order to prepare for the DesignPitch, which took place on Thursday evening. Each group made outstanding presentations, and they could not have come up with the unique and creative solutions they did without the design thinking process. Gautam, of India, said, “Design thinking was a unique way of interacting with other delegates to empathize with other countries an try to do our part in solving the world’s problems.

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