Design Thinking for Research in Sport Psychology


This presentation showcases Design Thinking (DT) in research. Although DT has long been used in certain fields (e.g., architecture, engineering), its use in the sports domain is nascent. DT, a paradigm, methodology, and method, encourages creative, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder teams to use a systematic and collaborative approach to identify and creatively solve problems with abductive reasoning, which helps to understand field-deep knowledge (Chamber et al., 2021). DT aims to solve wicked problems in a human-centred, desirable, technologically feasible, and economically viable way to ensure innovation and change are sustained over time. DT can help with the system change (e.g., sport psychology, coach education). In our first case, we organized the National Coaching for Para Sport Summit based on the DT paradigm (wicked problem: more inclusive education for coaching in Para sport), methodology (Hasso-Plattner Institution model; HPI) and methods (empathy mapping, fictional personas). Second, using DT methodologically, we explored Canadian high-performance athlete retirement support mechanisms. We used the 5-stage HPI process to conduct empathy interviews, which we analyzed abductively, creating personas to be used to ideate solutions. Third, we used DT as a paradigm in a case study of student-athlete mental health at uOttawa. Data were generated using DT tools (e.g., enabler interviews, digital storytelling, empathy mapping) resulting in a stakeholder map and fictional personas. We recommend DT as a promising concept whether as a paradigm, methodology, and/or method for sport psychology research aimed at the re-imagination of complex problems from a holistic perspective, considering the realities of end-users.