Instructor Q & A with Ryan Kiggins: Human Centered Design Thinking

Register for this class

What are the 3 main learning outcomes for students?

  • Learn the principles and mindsets of design thinking
  • Understand why these mindsets are better for your work and personal lives
  • Gain confidence in applying design thinking mindsets and approaches


Who should take this class?

  • Working professionals who are expected to produce or consume anything
  • Working professionals who want to be more creative, effective, positive and optimistic
  • Anyone who wants to develop and enhance skills as leaders and innovators


Why do you want to teach this?

I am very passionate about the personal and professional benefits of design thinking, I have been teaching it at Boeing for years with great response, and I want to share what I know and have learned over many years with people outside of Boeing.


How did you get started with this topic?

I began using the principles of human centered design after several years of being a software developer. I realized that people weren’t using the applications I was being asked to write and that was because I was writing the application according to specs that I received from an analyst, but those requirements did not come directly from the users. I decided I wanted to make sure that the work I was putting into developing software would be used and valued by the people I was designing for. So I started using the principles I teach before I even knew what design thinking was.


How do you apply these skills in your job (if applicable)?

See above ;-). After using and sharing the principles for several years, someone told me that there is an initiative in Boeing to use design thinking and that I should look into working with the group responsible for teaching and expanding that competency. Within a couple of weeks of that conversation, I was in that group, teaching design thinking, leading workshops and helping people apply it. This is my full time job.



If you could tell students one thing about this class what would it be?

This class will give you the opportunity to learn and practice skills and mindsets that will make you more effective, engaged, inspired, satisfied and appreciated at work and at home.


What have you learned from teaching?

I have learned that the mood in the room is extremely important for allowing people to feel trusting and confident in what’s being shared. I’ve also learned that is important to be confident enough in what you teaching that you can adjust/adapt the training to the participants and their ideas/thoughts/pain points. If you are just talking to slides and following a strict curriculum, learners will easily be able to see that your grasp and expertise in what you’re teaching doesn’t warrant their attention and acceptance.


Last Updated July 25, 2018