Design Thinking - A Primer (MOOC Open for Registration)


It was August 2011, a few months before I quit the company, a gentleman tossed a question at me, “If I lose my job as a Java programmer to a computer which will write Java code by itself, then so will you. Without me, who will you teach?”

I had merely applied one of the trends of technology evolution and showed the participants of my workshop a demo that they would understand. Code that might write itself.

I had by no means hinted that I was going to fire him. But, I thought about this for quite some time.

Who will replace professors, trainers and consultants?

It is better that I replace myself rather than someone else, so I decided to record it all into a computer and deliver it as a course.

So, here goes. I am very glad to announce the launch of an online course on Design Thinking on an online platform called NPTEL - National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning. I am co-teaching this course with Prof. Ashwin Mahalingam from IIT, Madras. The course is available at The course is now open for registration and we will start in Feb 2019. The wonderful folks at IISER, Pune, hard working people at NPTEL, my creative teaching assistant, Siddharth Maturi and his buddies - Nithin, Sam and Suprativ helped us with making this course possible.

Transcript for the video is available below the video.

Transcript for the video:

hello that welcome to the design-thinking course. We are sitting on history, 2200 year old history. OK, now, what’s design-thinking got to do with 2200 year-old Buddhist caves? You might ask.

You have to take my course to know about that. Anyway, what is design thinking? The same thinking that designers used to use. Designers, eons ago. When people observed them and said," Wow! These guys are great! They come up with brilliant solutions, very creative ones, very beautiful ones at that!".

Rest of the world wondered. “Wow! How do they do that? Are they born like this? Are they trained like this? What food do they eat? Wow! This is amazing!” So the rest of the world was curious and then lots of people started studying them and found out [that] they actually follow a streamlined process.

A step-by-step method. So, for example, this is what we’re going to be introducing in this course a four-step method - Empathize, Analyze, Solve and Test, so that you can embody whatever it is that designers were doing and you can be as creative and brilliant yourselves.

But for what? For who? That’s a good question! We are going to see how do we help others. How do we help ourselves in thinking about great brilliant solutions. Where we would like to be helped or we would like to help somebody with.

It could be something to do with a product that they’re using [or] a service that somebody is using and so you could actually go and do this. Apply this method.

[Do] you want to know more? My course is up for registration. You can find out more and of course, there’s a hidden trip. A trip to Baja caves which is near Pune, India as well. Included. Free. No cost.

OK. so see you in the course and by the way, you don’t have to have any requirements any prereqs nothing. You come as yourself and only condition [is that] you have to be willing to help somebody. Go on the field, talk to strangers, maybe and help them in return. So, this is a course which will help you do that.

Tata! See you in the course then! Bye!

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