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  • Daniel Ling

How did Marvel's Captain America, Thor and Iron Man apply Design Thinking in Avengers Endgame?

Updated: Feb 2

Apply Design Thinking in Marvel's Avengers Endgame

I love Marvel movies and have spent hours understanding underlying themes and motivations of characters across the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While "Avengers: Endgame" is not specifically about Design Thinking, there are some parallels between the themes and ideas in the movie and the principles of Design Thinking. Some of the themes and elements of Design Thinking from " Marvel's Avengers: Endgame" could be interpreted through the characters in the movie.

1. Empathy

Tony Stark demonstrates his ability to empathize with others and connect with them emotionally. In the opening scene of the movie, Tony is shown stranded in space with no food, water, or oxygen. He records a message for Pepper Potts, expressing his sadness and regret for leaving her behind. This shows that Tony is able to empathize with her pain of separation and loss.

He is also able to understand the needs and perspectives of his team members and put himself in their shoes, which ultimately helps the Avengers succeed in their mission. He sacrifices himself for the greater good in the final battle against Thanos, Tony realizes that the only way to save the universe is to use the Infinity Stones to send Thanos to dust. Despite the risks to his own life, Tony is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of others.

Apply Design Thinking in Marvel's Tony Start Iron Man

2. Iterative Prototyping

In Design Thinking, the common practice is to create prototypes and test them with users in order to refine and improve the final product. In "Avengers: Endgame" the superheroes make several attempts to time-travel , each time learning from their mistakes and adjusting their approach.

When the Avengers decide to travel back in time to retrieve the Infinity Stones and undo Thanos' snap, they need to "prototype" this idea. After his family is snapped out of existence by Thanos, Hawkeye was grieving and willing to take courage to travel back in time to try out this "prototype" time travel and bring back a set of baseball gloves.

Hawkeye's successful "prototype experience" serves as a starting point for the Avengers to have confidence that time-travel could indeed be a working solution to their problem. The team uses the "prototype experience" to improve upon, adding their own knowledge and experience to strategize getting the Infinity Stones.

Apply Design Thinking Prototyping for Marvel's Hawkeye

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3. Collaboration and Teamwork

Design Thinking often involves cross-functional teams working together to solve complex problems. In "Avengers: Endgame" the superheroes come from different backgrounds and have different skill sets, but they are able to collaborate and work as a team to achieve their goal.

Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor demonstrate the importance of teamwork in achieving a common goal. They understand that they must work together and utilize each other's strengths in order to defeat Thanos in the final fight. Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor use their individual strengths to create a powerful team. Iron Man uses his technology to create weapons, Captain America uses the shield and Mjolnir to create the element of surprise, and Thor uses the Stormbreaker and lightning powers to deal heavy blows. Thanos completely underestimated them.

Most importantly, it is the concept of trust. The three superheroes trust each other and rely on each other to defeat Thanos. They understand that they cannot succeed alone and must work together as a team.

Apply Design Thinking in Marvel's Avengers Endgame- Build Trust and Teamwork

4. Systems Thinking

Another part of Design Thinking is to understand the larger system in which a problem exists in order to create an effective solution. In "Avengers: Endgame" the superheroes are dealing with a complex and interconnected system of people, technology, and supernatural forces.

The Avengers understand the cause and effect as well as feedback loops. They recognize that in order to reverse the Snap, they need to address the root cause of the problem as well as the feedback loops at play- meaning that the actions they take will have an impact on the system as a whole. For example, when Hulk brought everyone from the Snap back, he is very mindful not to remove the age, memories and experience of the people existing already in the world. The Avengers has the core agenda to bringing the people from Snap to life, but know that will have ripple effects throughout the universe and may create new challenges.

By using Systems Thinking, the Avengers are able to develop a comprehensive plan to address the complex challenge of reversing the Snap. They understand the interconnected nature of the problem and the need for a coordinated effort to solve it. Through collaboration and consideration of multiple perspectives, they are able to successfully save the universe.

Apply Design Thinking in Marvel's Avengers Endgame- Use Systems Thinking


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Last Words

I will be adding more articles on Design Thinking throughout the year. Articles of Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test will be added periodically to give my readers a broader insights to Design Thinking.

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About the Author

Daniel Ling is a regional Design Leader, and certified Design and Agile Coach with 15 years of experience in the financial and e-commerce tech space- who moulded himself to be a “designer in a business suit”- strong in the Design Thinking process and yet relevant to the industry. He is proficient in the digital and transformational space- in the area of design leadership and management, research, strategy planning and coaching.

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