Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Allison Butler

Second Faculty Advisor

Michael Roberto


design thinking; middle school students; perfectionism


Bryant University

Rights Management

CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


Design thinking requires students to generate roughly formed prototypes, share imperfect, early stage solutions with others, and give and seek critical feedback on the path to iteration and innovation. It seems that the individual variable of perfectionism could manifest in interesting ways as a student progresses through the phases of design thinking. The purpose of this study is to examine the variable of perfectionism in relation to the design thinking process in middle school girls, which was completed through the analysis of the Innovation Nation program that took place in 2019. Innovation Nation is a 3-day program that immerses students in the design thinking process at Lincoln School, which is an all-girls’ independent school, in Providence, Rhode Island. In order to complete the analysis, a mixed method approach was used. Analyses were conducted over quantitative measures, which include the Pre-Program Measure, Post-Program Measure, Perfectionism Self-Presentation Scale Junior, and the Posterlet online simulation, and qualitative measures, which included one-on-one interviews with participants who were considered low perfectionists and high perfectionists. After the Innovation Nation program and compared to the low perfectionists, the high perfectionists were less likely to seek positive feedback in the Posterlet online simulation, were more likely to seek critical feedback in the Posterlet online simulation, were equally likely to revise and iterate their work based on feedback in the Posterlet online simulation, and showed greater growth in their positive attitudes towards collaboration. High perfectionists and low perfectionists did not differ in design thinking knowledge retention after the intervention, however they both demonstrated learning of the definition and steps of the design thinking process. In effect, perfectionism is just one of the many personality traits that can be explored in terms of how individuals may experience the design thinking process differently, so the continued exploration between the intersection between personality traits and the design thinking process is compelling.