What is Translational Thinking?

Translational Thinking

Is a systematic approach to mobilizing knowledge towards innovations that improve health outcomes.

Translational Thinking is a framework developed at the TRP.  Although rooted in Design Thinking, it has been adapted for ‘health science’ contexts as a methodology for expediting the translation, implementation and dissemination of medical or health-related discoveries and research into products, protocols, pharmaceuticals, policies, and processes.

Translational Thinking incorporates ideas of divergent and convergent thinking processes and the experiential learning cycle.  The framework is iterative, and often messy; it employs abductive reasoning and focuses on understanding the nature of a problem and its context before engaging in strategies to generate concepts, prototypes and implementation strategies.

It involves two primary activities (analysis and synthesis) in six iterative phases: Discover, Define, Frame, Ideate, Translate, Implement, and is grounded in the Experiential Learning Cycle and the FDA design requirements process.  It is represented in the figure below:


The Translational Thinking Framework structures the TRP curriculum and is used to help systematically approach translation to optimize translational projects.


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