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Q: How does the Launch Cycle compare with the Standford d.School Design Thinking model and/or the Watson model? 

The Launch Cycle and the Design Thinking model, while both being structured frameworks for problem-solving and innovation, do exhibit differences in their stages and areas of focus.

The Launch Cycle is a seven-stage process: Look, Listen, and Learn; Ask Tons of Questions; Understand the Process or Problem; Navigate Ideas; Create a Prototype; Highlight and Fix; and Launch to an Audience.

In the 'Look, Listen, and Learn' phase, students are expected to observe and absorb information about the problem or process with a sense of awareness. This might involve developing empathy for an audience or gaining a deep understanding of a problem that needs solving.

The next stage, 'Ask Tons of Questions', encourages pupils to fuel their curiosity by asking as many questions as possible about the problem or process. This leads into the 'Understand the Process or Problem' phase, where students engage in comprehensive research to understand the issue at hand better.

In the 'Navigate Ideas' stage, students use their accumulated knowledge to generate potential solutions. They brainstorm, combine, and analyze ideas, finally generating a concept for their creation. Following this, the 'Create a Prototype' stage involves developing a tangible or digital product, artwork, or concept based on the selected idea.

The 'Highlight and Fix' phase enables students to identify what's working in their prototype and fix the elements that aren't. Viewing the revision process as a series of iterations, where each mistake brings them closer to success, is a key aspect of this stage. Finally, in the 'Launch to an Audience' stage, students share their work with the world, presenting it to an authentic audience.

On the other hand, the Design Thinking model is a five-stage process: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

The 'Empathize' stage requires designers to fully understand the experience of the user for whom they're designing. This is achieved through observation, interaction, and immersing oneself in the user's experiences. The next stage, 'Define', involves processing and synthesizing the findings from the empathy work to form a user-centric viewpoint that the design will address.

The 'Ideate' phase encourages designers to explore a wide variety of possible solutions by generating a large quantity of diverse possible solutions. This allows them to step beyond the obvious and explore a wide range of ideas. After this, the 'Prototype' stage involves transforming ideas into a physical form, allowing designers to interact with them, learn from them, and develop more empathy.

Finally, the 'Test' stage involves trying out high-resolution products, using observations and feedback to refine prototypes, learn more about the user, and refine the original point of view.

In comparing the two, both processes involve understanding the problem or process, generating ideas, creating a prototype, and refining the product. However, the Launch Cycle has a specific stage dedicated to launching the product to an audience, which is not explicitly present in the Design Thinking model. Moreover, the Design Thinking model places a stronger emphasis on developing empathy towards the user's experience, which is less explicit in the Launch Cycle.

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