How would you define this big idea?
Design thinking is a loose collection of methods and tactics abstracted from design practice and made applicable to issues, fields, and contexts generally thought of being outside of design. The most common framework is the one developed by IDEO and the Stanford d.school and is centered around a 5 step process: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. The value of design thinking is to provide a process that can be used for invention, even by those not formally trained in design.
How is this big idea applied to sustainable communities?
The value of design thinking to sustainable communities is that it provides a process that can be used across contexts and stakeholders. The process itself is useful and, for the most part, devoid of ideology or other trappings of process that sometimes thwart participation. The process is generic enough that it could be used for almost any issue.
Article by Tim Brown on Design Thinking for Social Innovation
Critical / Academic Perspectives:
Rethinking Design Thinking: Part I
Rethinking Design Thinking: Part II