Back to The New School


Preview Spring 2021 courses before enrollment opens on December 8th. Browse courses

Leading Through Design Thinking: Student Spotlight on Jacqueline Hastings

May 8, 2017 at 9:19PM
Leading Through Design Thinking: Student Spotlight on Jacqueline Hastings

This month our Student Spotlight is on Jacqueline Hastings, a current Design Thinking Fundamentals student with Parsons at Open Campus. A director at a professional services firm in Australia with a previous interest in design thinking, Jacqueline explains how the course’s format fits in perfectly with her schedule. She shows us how she is using design thinking to solve problems in her professional and personal life, and how the course is helping her achieve her long and short-term goals—both in finance and her day-to-day life.

What sparked your interest in taking Design Thinking Fundamentals and what drew you to The New School’s Open Campus?

Design thinking has been a bit of a buzzword in business lately. New and innovative ways of thinking are required to be effective in business and life, and to tackle the issues that a disrupted future is bringing to the forefront. I wanted to take the design thinking course through my work, but it was not being offered for awhile, so when I saw that it was available online through Parsons, I jumped at the chance! I took an online Associates Degree in Fashion Marketing through Parsons and really enjoyed the experience and access to the best design and fashion teaching in the world, no matter my location. 


What are you hoping to take away from the course? What skills have you already learnt?

I’m hoping to take a new skill set for innovating and problem solving away from the course. One thing I’ve really developed is listening to others and taking feedback. That’s a critical skill when trying to solve issues with design thinking, and it’s a wonderful skill to be able to listen to others, because they often have great ideas or different ideas that you would not have thought yourself!


What are some major projects you’ve worked on in class? Can you share them with us?

As my central project, I’ve identified using design thinking to help the modern day commuter. Ideally we would be able to use design to get a lot of things to already be where this commuter needs them to be – for example having showers at the office with towel service and shampoo/conditioner, so you don’t need to bring those along with you. But for the inevitable items that need to be transported on your person, I’ve developed a prototype of a carrying bag that will act as the “Swiss Army knife” of bags, with a special waterproof spot for your umbrella, separate area for any food you want to bring with you (separate from my clothes so they don’t get spilled on!), spot for your train travel card, clip for your keys, etc.

How has the format -- Short Course & Online, shaped your experience?

It’s been perfect actually. The short course hits you with all of the relevant content, but none of the extra fluff. The Canvas app has been incredible. It’s a step up even from Blackboard, which I used for the AAS degree previously. The app is really well functioning for what we need to do, and you can study from anywhere. 


Has the course changed the way you think or solve problems? If so, how?

I’ve been trying to design hack my personal routines to make my life easier and more efficient, and it’s been going well! I’ve also used design thinking at work to host a session for a client and work with them on storytelling and graphic representation. I’ve gotten great feedback at work for using these skills.


What are some goals you’d like to achieve? How has this course supported those goals?

I would like to continue learning design thinking, and hopefully take the extra courses at work. By telling my boss that I’ve personally invested in this development, I think I will have a stronger case for the firm also investing in me.


What is one goal you’d like to tackle in the next 2 years (professional or personal)?

I want to build a team of finance transformation specialists that have design thinking in their personal toolkit, for when we are helping clients approach problems. I’d also like to gradually continue to apply design thinking in my day-to-day life so I can spend less time on administration, and more time enjoying life!


How has Open Campus expanded your network?

I’ve gotten to meet some great folks in the course, and I’ve also been sharing the interesting videos that the professor suggests with some of my colleagues at work. They’re really enjoying the insights from the Ted Talks and Youtube content that they might not have found otherwise.


If you could sum up your experience in one sentence or phrase, what would it be?

If you start the conversation by saying “we need to build a bridge” and then go about deciding what kind of bridge, you’ve already missed your chance to apply design thinking. Start one step back and think about WHY you might need a bridge – because maybe you just need a boat, or a telephone, or a drone to solve your problem. 


Any advice for someone who may be interested in following a similar path?

Go for it! This Design Thinking Fundamentals course with Parsons at Open Campus is a low investment and quick sprint through the fundamentals of this unique way of thinking. It’s a great way to get exposure, and then decide from there if it’s something you want to pursue further. Even if you don’t continue on to other classes, maybe you’ll design an alarm clock that brews your coffee and cooks your eggs before you throw in the towel.


5 Fast Facts...

Fav restaurant: Mr. Wong’s – Sydney, Australia.

Fav night-out/activity: Hosting a themed dinner party – this weekend was Casablanca Night, with a Moroccan feast.

Website/blog/social account that sparks your creativity: @therighttulles on Instagram. Just found her this morning and her fashion illustrations have inspired me to go buy some colored pencils!

Motivational song: Little by Little, Ulf Nilsson

Where can people find you online? @jaxinthesun on Instagram – for travel and food adventures.

Interested in taking Design Thinking Fundamentals? Learn more here.

Looking to take your learning a step further with a certificate program? Learn about the Design Leadership for Business Certificate.

Ready to commit to disrupting status quo’s in your industry? Discover our Global Executive M.S. in Strategic Design and Management.

Written by Leora Zauderer for Open Campus.

More than a course.
A new kind of network.
Back to top