Design Thinking for Fun and Profit


»The term “design thinking” has been floating around the industry since the 60s, but it was arguably IDEO’s Tim Brown who helped bring it into the public consciousness in his 2009 TED Talk. Since then, Design Thinking has been gaining popularity in the business world, thanks to prominent articles in publications like Fast Company and The Harvard Business Review. In fact Design Thinking has become so popular that many business leaders have been eschewing traditional MBAs in favour of design led programmes at The Singularity University and School.

The concept behind Design Thinking itself is fairly straightforward; essentially it’s using traditional design tools and approaches to solve non-traditional—often abstract–business problems. This typically involves a combination of abductive reasoning, visual sense making, modelling, co-design, and experimentation, all through the lens of user centricity. All things you should already be familiar with. As such, the magic of design thinking is using these tools in new and unexpected ways.

Considering all the buzz, you’ll be surprised to know that the very existence of Design Thinking is still contested, with some designers feeling there is an element of “emperor’s new clothes” about the whole conversation. They would argue that design thinking is nothing new and designers have always used their tools to solve complex business problems, so this isn’t some new for of cognition. Irrespective of the ongoing debate, Design Thinking has clearly made its way outside the design studio and into the boardroom, giving designers an unprecedented level of access and influence.«

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