Skip to main

Design Thinking gives you a competitive edge.

Boost your career marketability by discovering the power of collaboration and alternative ways of problem-solving. The Nancy Richardson Design Center is an interdisciplinary hub for learning and connecting with design thinkers from all backgrounds.

From learning how to make textile patterns and infographics, to working with wood and 3D modeling, there is an ever-rotating array of Design Thinking Toolbox courses offered at the RDC.

The undergraduate Certificate or Minor in Design Thinking will improve not only the way you learn and find solutions in your current coursework, but will also help make you more employable with sought-after marketable skills.

The Graduate Certificate in Design Thinking will improve your personal creativity while initiating change in your industry. Design thinking skills are useful across numerous industries, not just the design world. Advance your career as you learn about the innovation process.

The RDC offers dual enrollment to high school students through our online courses taught by CSU faculty. Help your school give students a head start to their college education through dual enrollment.

  • In six semesters of Intro to Design Thinking, students have successfully tackled more than 271 problems 271
  • 13 different IDEA courses offered with immediate access and hands-on learning in our fabrication labs
  • 219% According to the Design Management Institute, companies using design thinking outperformed the S&P Index by 219% over 10 years

Applications for Social Change Design Justice

We bring together artists, humanitarians, scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, design thinkers, and creatives from every discipline to tackle important, authentic problems and devise innovative solutions for socially and ecologically sustainable impacts and creative solution proposals to improve human experiences. Application of human centered design and design thinking processes, with a focus on social change and civic engagement, provide solutions to real-world problems facing some of society’s most vulnerable populations. Design justice emphasizes that the greatest impacts are made when design is led by those with marginalized identities.

IDEA210: Students prototyped acrylic nails that can be used by non-binary and male identifying users and those with prosthetic hands.

IDEA450: Students design and build an ADA accessible tiny home.

IDEA310F: Students interview someone with a medical or developmental need and create an adaptive piece for them. For example, pockets for people’s walkers, tailoring to make clothing more accessible, and clothing that isn’t available to buy off the rack.

Three students looking at a laser cutter in the Prototyping Lab

IDEA 450 Build a Tiny Home!

In spring 2021, a class of interdisciplinary students in Colorado State University’s Design Thinking capstone course designed and built the first CSU tiny house on wheels. Students constructed the design to the National Organization of Alternative Housing (NOAH) standards.

The tiny house was sold in fall 2021 with all proceeds supporting the educational mission of the RDC and subsequently funding the Spring 2023 tiny house capstone project. Follow @csutinyhouse on Instagram to check out the latest build!

Visitors are invited to explore the 3D camera footage to virtually tour the home. Click on the yellow, green, and gold tags to learn about the house’s industry donors, design features, and fun facts about CSU.

The IDEA 450 capstone course is co-taught by Maria Delgado, assistant professor in the Interior Architecture and Design program and RDC core faculty, and Mitch Holmes, owner of MitchCraft Tiny Holmes and RDC affiliate faculty.