Design Thinking - Applications

Design thinking finds its application across a variety of professions. From sports, education and research to business, management and design, design thinking is widely used by professionals around the globe.

Design thinking is halfway between analytical thinking and intuitive thinking. Analytical thinking involves purely deductive reasoning and inductive logical reasoning that utilize quantitative methodologies to come to conclusions. However, intuitive thinking refers to knowing something without any kind of reasoning.

These are two extreme kinds of thinking. Design thinking makes use of both the extremes in an optimum manner. The intuitive thinking helps in invention for the future, whereas analytical thinking to create something creative in the present, which is replicable. The willingness to use these futuristic solutions is what is called abductive logic.


Design thinking helps in businesses by optimizing the process of product creation, marketing, and renewal of contracts. All these processes require a companywide focus on the customer and hence, design thinking helps in these processes immensely. Design thinking helps the design thinkers to develop deep empathy for their customers and to create solutions that match their needs exactly. The solutions are not delivered just for the sake of technology.

Information Technology

The IT industry makes a lot of products that require trials and proof of concepts. The industry needs to empathize with its users and not simply deploy technologies. IT is not only about technology or products, but also its processes. The developers, analysts, consultants, and managers have to brainstorm on possible ideas for solving the problems of the clients. This is where design thinking helps a lot.


The education sector can make the best use of design thinking by taking feedback from students on their requirements, goals and challenges they are facing in the classroom. By working on their feedback, the instructors can come up with solutions to address their challenges.

For example, Michael Schurr, a 2nd grade instructor from New York, realized that his students would be more comfortable with bulletin boards lowered. He also found the idea of creating comfortable semi-private space for working students as it provided them space to study. As a result, his students became more engaged and felt free to move.


Design thinking helps in healthcare as well. The expenditure on healthcare by the government and the cost of healthcare facilities is growing by the day. Experts worldwide are concerned about how to bring quality healthcare to people at low cost.

Venice Family Clinic in Venice, California has come up with innovative solutions to the challenge of opening a low-cost children’s clinic to serve the low-income families. Problems of finance, transportation, and language barriers had to be solved. And all this had to be done at low cost for the poor kids. Fostering good health along with profits was a challenge, as it does not sound sustainable. Using design thinking, the inefficiencies in the system and the perennial crises were addressed.

This was followed by mind-blowing innovations to serve the children. How they solved the various issues will be seen in the later sections of the tutorial.