Design Thinking - Definition

The idea of using design as a way of solving complex problems in a simplified manner in sciences originated in the book, ‘The Sciences of the Artificial’, authored by Herbert A.Simon in 1969. The same purpose was achieved for design engineering by the book ‘Experiences in Visual Thinking’, authored by Robert McKim in 1973.

In 1987, Peter Rowe’s book titled, “Design Thinking” described methods and approaches that planners, designers, and architects use. The work of Robert McKim was consolidated by Rolf Faste at Stanford University during 1980s to 1990s and then, David M. Kelly adapted design thinking for business interests. David M. Kelly founded IDEO in 1991.

Most of the industries trying to solve customers’ problems and address their needs are failing just because they look at the problems outside in. However, many problems can be solved in a better manner if we look at them inside out.

According to an article in Forbes, a large number of problems faced by organizations worldwide are multi-faceted and are a part of increasingly complex business models. The expansion of global transactions, growth of international partnerships and decentralized base of human resources are leading to challenges that require a global outlook and hence, a different outlook to solve the problems.

Features of Design Thinking

Such problems require multidimensional solutions. Design thinking helps in this regard. It not only assists a professional to come up with a solution, but it also helps the organization to gain a competitive edge over its rivals. Following are the benefits conferred by design thinking. These are incidentally also the distinguishing features of design thinking.

  • Finding simplicity in complexities.
  • Having a beautiful and aesthetically appealing product.
  • Improving clients’ and end user’s quality of experience.
  • Creating innovative, feasible, and viable solutions to real world problems.
  • Addressing the actual requirements of the end users.

Most of the challenges in the world do not get solved because people trying to address those problems focus too much on the problem statement. At other times, the problem statement is overlooked and there is too much stress to find a solution.

Design thinking helps to gain a balance between the problem statement and the solution developed. A design-oriented mindset is not problem focused, but solution focused and action oriented. It has to involve both analysis and imagination. Design thinking is the way of resolving issues and dissolving problematic situations by the help of design.

Strategy of Innovation

Design thinking is also considered to be a strategy for innovation. It leads to dramatic improvements in innovation. This is why design thinking forms the core of effective strategy development and seamless organizational change. Anything that involves human interaction, from products, services, processes etc., can be improved through design thinking. It all depends on the designer’s way to create, manage, lead, and innovate.

Use of Design Thinking

The basic principle of design thinking is that innovation can be disciplined. Innovation is not an elusive entity that only a few genius people can experience. It is, rather, a practice that can be systematically approached by a set of practical and meticulous tools, methodologies, and frameworks.

Design thinking helps you learn the following.

  • How to optimize the ability to innovate?

  • How to develop a variety of concepts, products, services, processes, etc. for endusers?

  • How to leverage the diverse ideas of innovation?

  • How to convert useful data, individual insights and vague ideas into feasible reality?

  • How to connect with the customers and end-users by targeting their actual requirements?

  • How to use the different tools used by designers in their profession for solving your customers’ problems?

Design thinking helps people of every profession to arrive at solutions in a planned, organized, and systematic manner. The step-by-step process helps to create solutions with both the problem statement and the required solution in mind.