Design Thinking for Scientists


This is a graduate level course focused on developing entrepreneurial, design thinking skills and its application to graduate research and/or lab productivity, and other scientific, business, education, organizational, communication or start-up pursuits in basic biomedical sciences such as biochemistry or in any discipline the student would like to pursue.

Interactive lectures will include classroom discussions regarding design thinking, team brainstorming and ideation techniques, and methods of idea development. Students will develop entrepreneurial skills by a) Identifying problems as observers in their own research, lab, departmental, career environment or via another person while also considering feasibility and potential impact, b) narrowing the focus to one problem with a clear market analysis, and c) Ideating, prototyping, testing and pitching to facilitators. Some examples which students may choose to ideate for may be annual lab goals, lab meetings for designing experiments, skills development, course or workshop development, student group initiatives. The skills learned in this course will enable the student to lead meaningful engagements throughout graduate school and enhance EQ skills in self-awareness, motivation, and empathy to potentially become Canada’s future scientific thought and entrepreneurial leaders.

Non-Biochemistry Students please refer to Prerequisites for enrollment.

Biochemistry Graduate students: This module is available for PhDs only.

Course Next Offered

Winter 2024

Course Time and Location

Wednesdays 9:30 - 11:30 am EST
Jan 19, Feb 2, 16, March 2, 23, April 6th

TBD - 2 hours a week, every other week for 6 classes

St George Campus In-Person


PhD students with an entrepreneurial, teamwork spirit. GPD preferred as a prerequisite, but not necessary.

Enrollment Limit

Yes — 8

Method of Student Evaluation

30% Class Attendance and Participation
20% Teamwork (based on teamwork assessment and check-in with instructor)
25% Pitch Presentation (15% Content, 10% Presentation)
25% Final Reflection Report (1000-1200 words)

Recommended Reading

The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelley

The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design by (2015-05-03) 

Class of DTS2019 (not pictured: Shayna Deecker, Jan Falguera)

Class of DTS2021

Highlights of Dr. Nana Lee’s 2021 Course on Design Thinking for Scientists (DTS)


Nana Hyung-Ran Lee

Nana Hyung-Ran Lee

Room 5233
Medical Sciences Building
1 King's College Circle

Last Updated 16 April 2022