Design Thinking And Economics Education

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Journal Article
Australasian Journal of Economics Education, 2019, 16 (1), pp. 1 - 24
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Design Thinking is a relatively recent decision-making framework in management studies that combines traditional analytical thinking with what Martin (2009) calls intuitive thinking. Analytical thinking corresponds to the approach typically taken by economists where causal patterns between variables are identified based on empirical regularities. Once established, these patterns can become the basis for decision-making in matters affected by the variables in question. Intuitive thinking, on the other hand, grounds decision-making on connections that are apprehended instinctively with a greater role for imagination and creativity. Design thinking combines both approaches and reflects the epistemological pragmatism of Charles Sanders Pierce and John Dewey. This paper argues that the rise of design thinking presents economics with some interesting possibilities and conceptual challenges. On the one hand, it holds out the possibility of an improved theory of entrepreneurial behaviour. It may also have implications for economic education more generally since at its heart is a theory of knowledge and learning, and this may well affect economic knowledge and learning at a broader level. The paper provides a preliminary examination of design thinking and its implications for economic education. Two broad implications are identified firstly for what we teach and secondly for how we teach in economics programs.
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