Developing Intercultural Competence Through Design Thinking




cultural diversity, culture, design thinking, intercultural communication, intercultural competence


Cultural competence, as the ability to interact effectively with the culturally diverse others, is a key component to your success in the globalized world. Developing cultural competence gives us an insight how to benefit from the diversity within intercultural interactions. Everyone may misinterpret the cultural differences due to the low level of cultural competence. That can influence further cooperation with different cultures. Therefore, it is very important to foster students’ intercultural skills, in particular by using different learning techniques and implementing new ideas into the traditional teaching methods. One of them is design thinking as a practice that encourages collaboration and can help students to manage intercultural challenges. Hence, the research problem for this study is to reveal the correlation between the development of students’ intercultural competence and design thinking method application. The purpose of the study is to summarize and synthesize the research on cross-cultural interactions and design thinking to build a framework that shows how the implementation of the design thinking method into the learning process facilitates the development of students’ intercultural competence. The tasks of the research are:
a) to review the main contributions to the field of design thinking by analysing multidisciplinary studies on how design thinking fosters development of variety competences including intercultural competence;
b) to design the framework to reveal the correlation between the components of intercultural competence and the stages of design thinking process;
c) to observe the changes in the students’ intercultural competence level by analysing learners’ responses to the case of intercultural misunderstanding at the beginning of studying the cross-cultural communication classes and after finishing the course.
d) The study uses mixed approaches such as quantitative and qualitative methods, scientific literature studies, intercultural competence assessment, grouping, comparative analysis, synthesis, inductive and deductive methods.
The key results are presented in the framework that demonstrates the ways how design thinking method supports the development of intercultural competence. This framework can be used by educators to teach intercultural competence and everyone involved in cross-cultural interactions, and who would like to benefit from the diversity.






Social Evolution of Europe