When faced with complex problems that are situated in social reality many design students struggle to formulate meaningful and articulate responses to these problems. The cognitive skills required to solve complex problems are often learned only experientially. This paper argues for these latent, yet critical abilities, to be taught explicitly as part of a tertiary design education.
This paper initially reviews the theoretical underpinnings of design thinking with a specific focus on the reciprocal relationship of the design problem and the subsequent solution. A range of the formative cognitive requirements needed to solve complex problems situated in broader society and within disciplinary practice are described in reference to the theoretical framework.