Think Design Think

Fields from science to politics to business are looking to design for inspiration, alternative processes, and new solutions. Design negotiates between technology, policy, systems and users. A structured design approach can heighten the hit-rate in the fuzzy front end of innovation processes in public and private sectors. As a result, design has become incredibly multifaceted in recent years, encompassing subfields such as interaction design, critical design, environmental design, social design, bio-design, to name just a few of the new comers to the traditional disciplines of product-, graphic- and service design. UX design, for instance, has become a major driver in Silicon Valley’s economy, arguably commoditizing tech and has become a focus area for European social states promoting sharing economy. Design has become a universal medium for expressing ideas, raising fundamental questions and addressing social challenges.

Design Thinkingis thought to prescribe the fundamental methodology driving the entire field and above-mentioned subfields. The term ‘Design Thinking’ was originally coined by Herbert A. Simon and described as “a problem-solving method inspired by designers way to solve problems”. I agree that the type of thinking (abductive, synthetic, divergent…) involved in design thinking is similar to the thinking in all other types of design, but the method not necessarily. For instance, the anthropological research involved in design thinking is not broadly applied in graphic or industrial design. In that sense, I believe it is false that it prescribes a methodology to the entire field. Paradoxically the term ‘Design Thinking’ does not really describe a way of thinking, but a methodology and design thinking does not involve more thinking than any other field of design. It is just a name.

Design is used in new contexts and scenarios every day, but why bother with the thinking bit? Design holds a —> Read More