in Business Design

What is design thinking?

I’m hesitant to offer a definition of design thinking because there’s probably no one definition everyone could agree on, as with design and its many sub-genres. But after hearing more and more people having trouble referencing it I figured a half-baked blog post couldn’t hurt. I’m reminded of how Lao Tzu said “The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao” yet still managed to write a book about it.

Design thinking is…

  • Collaborative, especially with others having different and complimentary experience, to generate better work and form agreement
  • Abductive, inventing new options to find new and better solutions to new problems
  • Experimental, building prototypes and posing hypotheses, testing them, and iterating this activity to find what works and what doesn’t work to manage risk
  • Personal, considering the unique context of each problem and the people involved
  • Integrative, perceiving an entire system and its linkages
  • Interpretive, devising how to frame the problem and judge the possible solutions

I’m sure one could play with the language and categorization to find more or less characteristics, but I’m happy with just those six.

  1. And my personal favourite,

    “Design is all of this but, the salient differentiation between scientific or artistic thinking and design thinking is that, the purpose of design is not to describe or explain what exists in the modality of self expression but to create what does not exist on behalf of another through other expression. This last point is critical in the understanding of design.

    The work of the designer cannot be defined separately from those for whom the designer is creating;”

    Let’s not forget the user :)

    This is taken from http://www.advanceddesign.org/necessity.html

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