On “Design Thinking”

Undoubtedly, design thinking is on everyone’s lips. Many are just about to discover it. Others declared it “dead” and being a hype years ago. It as been – and still gets – discussed passionately in the blogosphere, in social media, at events and through an ever-growing body of books and position papers. This is a natural development, as once a concept rises to prominence, one or often even several discourses develop around it.

Design thinking, still on the rise?

In parts, discourses have become disorienting. Especially for those who are new to the discussion and who lack the time to differentiate between marketing claims of »design thinking consultants«, scientific considerations and normative notions expressed by »gurus«.

Many debates therefore end up around the concepts’ definitions, its different process representations, or whether design thinking has become meaningless as it got hijacked by all kinds of actors, who use it to follow their own (commercial) interests and agendas. For decision-makers and novices it becomes hard in this situation to judge design thinking’s »suitability« for their contexts. This, and the recognition that we – a group of design thinking researchers – are tired to normatively discuss what design thinking is led us to look at what it actually becomes when organizations adopt it.

ThisIsDesignThinking.net therefore won’t take position for one of the many design thinking schools of thought. It rather tries to illustrate a spectrum of positions and understandings: 1.) By showcasing stories of successful and failed design thinking adoptions in all kinds of organizations. It is up to the reader to judge whether this »kind of design thinking« might also be appropriate for him and his context. And 2.) by contrasting different point of views on design thinking in the form of interviews, where its opponents and proponents will have their say.

This is not very helpful. I am a beginner and I was hoping for some information to get me started with design thinking.

OK. Here are some links for you. You might like these two movies: “What is Design Thinking?” and “Design & Thinking – The Movie”. A quick overview can of course also be found at Wikipedia. However, we personally believe that these books and below papers might be a better starting point for those who are willing to read a bit more. And, last but not least, the best way to learn about design thinking is to train and practice it.

Crisp papers worth a hundred books

Well, I already know about design thinking. Show me something new!

You might want to read more about the different design thinking discourses, have a look at our study or get going right away with our design thinking stories and interviews. Enjoy the blog!

Author: | Last modified: July 15, 2015

Image Sources


Owen, C. L. (2005, October 21). Design Thinking: What It Is, Why It Is Different, Where It Has New Value. [Presentation Paper]. International Conference on Design Research and Education for the Future, Gwanju, Korea. https://bedrock.id.iit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/owen_korea051.pdf
Beckman, S. L., & Barry, M. (2007). Innovation as a Learning Process: Embedding Design Thinking. California Management Review, 50(1), 25–56. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=27339728&site=ehost-live

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