Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Design Thinking is a creative process of innovation which is motivated by the empathic understanding of the person for whom the innovation is it intended to serve (i.e., the user). While the intention is to enhance the wellbeing of the user, it is likely that the process improves the wellbeing of those doing the innovating (i.e., the designer). While empirical research has yet to statistically test this hypothesis, evidence from positive psychology, the science of human thriving, provides insights into how this is possible. With the primary emphasis on the designer’s wellbeing, greater flourishing occurs within the design thinking process through the experience of positive emotions, deep engagement and opportunities for flow, rich relationships through radical collaboration, meaningful work by focusing on those whom are served (the user), and unique creative outcomes throughout the innovation process. By understanding these connections between wellbeing and design thinking, this paper also includes a Positive Psychology Workout Guide which outlines research-informed methods for achieving even greater human flourishing for those engaged in the design thinking process.


creativity, design thinker, empathy, human-centered design, innovation, positive psychology, prototype, radical collaboration, wellbeing



Date Posted: 18 October 2018