The following are just a few examples of recently published articles related to design thinking:
“Why we all need Design Thinking” — CMSWire
“‘Design Thinking’ For a Better You” — New York Times
“Applying Inspirational Design Thinking to Tackle Breakthrough Innovation” — The Huffington Post
“Why is ‘Design Thinking” on the Lips of so Many Business Leaders?” — The Economist
“Use Design Thinking to Develop Critical Skills for a Global Economy” — Education Week
There can be little doubt: design thinking is all the rage. However, questioning this vaulted rhetoric is healthy — it’s never a good idea to jump on a bandwagon blindly. After all, can something so seemingly simple — so ostensibly obvious — really be so revolutionary?
Well, it is hard to argue with the core principles. Here are a few reasons why you should believe the hype:
Design thinking embraces complexities.
If science and the foundations of logic upon which it rests seek to establish absolutes, design can be thought of as a valuable foundation through which to approach the increasingly complex, ever-shifting problems present in modern human industry. After all, while much of 21st century life leans on complex combinations of 1s and 0s, the modern world itself is full of difficult questions that 1s, 0s or logic alone can’t solve.
Design thinking puts the user — us — at the center of everything.
Look around you right now and you’ll see almost infinite opportunities for better design, but only by deeply empathizing with the user will the end result be a better experience. A common theme of the 21st century will be how powerful technology and human centered design work together to make the world more livable — but that requires really understanding how to best apply the technology.
Design thinking insists upon collaboration.
As problems become more and more complicated, solutions do not lie in any one person’s brain or one field of study. It is therefore essential we tap into our collective brain power and work with diverse people that have different perspectives, areas of expertise and skill sets. A siloed world might be more dangerous than we can even imagine.
Design thinking finds the silver lining in failure.
In a world obsessed with success, failure is stigmatized. This, in turn, has lead to a population that often feels paralyzed and unwilling to take risks. The problem is, all truly great innovations start out risky. So, by framing failure as just another learning opportunity, design thinking is helping us take more moon shots. With any luck, we’ll land a few.
Design thinking iterates.
Just like the fluid world in which we live, good design is a never-ending process and not a one-off event. Research, empathize, design, prototype, test, iterate, test, iterate, test, iterate, test and so on until the best solution emerges. Even then, solutions must be constantly re-evaluated and tweaked.
Design thinking encourages “out there”— but not too “out there”.
Complex problems almost always require creative solutions. When people are too bogged down by day to day tasks to think differently or try new things, we all lose out. Still, solutions must live within the realm of the possible. Design thinking activates the whole brain, integrating right-brain imagination, artistry and intuition with left-brain logic, analysis, and planning.
Design thinking fosters innovation.
Thanks to high expectations from consumers and the remarkable pace at which new, disruptive technologies are appearing, competition is at an all-time high. Sustainable innovation is hard, but by adhering to the lessons preached by design thinking, organizations can stay ahead of the curve.
The problems we face are big and tricky, but design thinking just might be our best bet to getting solutions as close to “right” as possible.