In a colorful public art installation, lasercut plexiglass cubes light up with the five symbols representing the five design behaviors taught in Design Bloc.

Our Approach: Design Behaviors

Our Approach: Design Behaviors

We believe five core behaviors form the basis for innovative thinking. We teach these five design behaviors to enable students, faculty, staff, and community members to identify the right problem, and approach it effectively.

Design Bloc pattern representing creative craft, or learning through building.

Creative Craft

Creative Craft is the relentless pursuit of making to foster new understanding. Build the creative confidence to bring any idea, whether it be a product, environment, service, performance, policy, or business, to a realization where it can be tested with an audience. Innovators with a diverse prototyping skillset can adapt the fidelity and resolution of each prototype to serve the current stage of development.

Design Bloc pattern representing contextual awareness, or understanding a problem in relation to its stakeholders and surroundings.

Contextual Awareness

Contextual awareness is the exploration of a problem’s impact and root causes to discover new opportunities for innovation. Examine how the issue plays out at scales ranging from the individual to worldwide and consider the problem’s relationship to users’ basic and high-level needs. Innovators who reconsider a problem in its full context can define a project scope that contains tangible and impactful issues.

Design Bloc pattern representing empathy, or considering the world from your users' points of view.


Empathy is the act of reconsidering the problem from the user's point of view. Approach users with tolerance and an open mind and use conversation and direct observation to learn how they perceive the issue. Innovators who take on their users’ viewpoints can prioritize problems that hold value for multiple stakeholders.

Design Bloc pattern representing entrepreneurial sustainability, or directing your effort to create long-term value for others.

Entrepreneurial Sustainability

Entrepreneurial sustainability is the pursuit of a business model that enables long term growth. Verify how users value the solution to a problem and pursue options that balance required resources and cost with this perceived value. Innovators who first validate the business case for their problem can work towards enduring solutions.

Design Bloc pattern representing rapid iteration, or the repeated testing of prototypes to validate design improvements.

Rapid Iteration

Rapid Iteration is the progressive refinement of an idea through feedback. Put each iteration of the product in contact with users and observe whether prototype and user have the desired interaction and emotional reaction. An innovator who repeatedly builds, tests, and learns from user feedback can ensure each design change advances the product’s purpose.

Applying Design Behaviors

Want to practice framing open-ended problems? Check out our upcoming workshops and classes to find your next opportunity to apply Design Behaviors. 

Woman pulls inspiration from a table full of printed graphic designs during a Design Bloc workshop on creating patches.

Join a Workshop

Deep-dive into a specific topic within the design process through a Design Bloc workshop
A student in Design Bloc's VIP course presents her concept sketches to her group for review.

Take a Class

Gain a hands-on experience in your area of interest through a Design Bloc class.

Reach Out to Us

Whether you're a student looking to join our team, or an organization seeking to introduce your workforce to design-thinking techniques, we want to hear from you. Connect with us!