Future Fluencies

This is How Solution Fluency Mirrors Design Thinking [Infographic]

This simple infographic offers a comparison of the stages of Solution Fluency beside design thinking, and illustrates the striking similarities between them.

Solution Fluency is something that mirrors many familiar learning procedures. These are the kinds of processes we have used in and out of classrooms for centuries, it seems. When teachers first see Solution Fluency, it can look complicated and daunting. Once compared with something familiar, that feeling evaporates quickly.

When we first began visualizing Solution Fluency, we wanted to create a comprehensive approach that could be easily taught to students. We came up with a system they could remember and apply—a cyclical and all-encompassing process that could be used in any application. We found our inspiration in a system we all learned in the high school chemistry lab.


As you can see from the chart above. the 6 Ds can be applied not just in the scientific method. They also relate well to writing, media production, or just about any other field in which a solution needs to be developed and implemented. One of the processes it also parallels is design thinking.
There are many interpretations of design thinking out there. For the most part they are only slightly different, and mostly in the way of terminology. However, they all generally follow the same core concepts. For our purposes, we are comparing it to Solution Fluency using one of the more common 6-step interpretations.

Solution Fluency and Design Thinking: A Never-Ending Cycle

Something we state frequently about the Essential Fluencies is they are not linear processes. They are cyclical in nature, which is good news for any learner wanting to explore, discover, and change. The Fluencies are the processes that facilitate this.

During learning, revisiting each stage of Solution Fluency is strongly encouraged. Along any learning journey, a pupil discovers new things and then refers back to previously-found knowledge. Afterward, they revise approaches, add new things, and discard what isn't useful. Design thinking works the exact same way.
This simple infographic creates a side-by-side comparison of the stages of both Solution Fluency and design thinking. It's intended to display the striking similarities between the two. It's hoped that this comparison will demonstrate a bit more of the remarkable versatility of Solution Fluency. It truly is a process for both living and learning.


That is the comparison between Solution Fluency and design thinking in a nutshell. Remember, in any design approach nothing is linear. There is always a never-ending cycle of revisitation and revision. When processes are kept linear, possibilities become limited. Possibilities are what both Solution Fluency and design thinking are intended to generate, because with them there are no limits.