A person who never made a mistake, never tried Design Thinking

I came to study to Laurea, partly because I wanted to find new perspectives after working in the same field for many years. I come from customer service background and I’m new to the world of Design Thinking. After two days intro to Design Thinking with Katja Tschimmel and reading the book DesignThinking: Integrating innovation, customer experience and brand value by Thomas Lockwood, I feel like I might have found my new passion. Here are three learnings about Katja’s lecture and Design Thinking that inspired me.

Get new experiences, you will have more sources for new ideas.

Too often we stay on our comfort zone, surrounded by jobs, hobbies, tastes and people and we know so well and find easy for us. A great base for becoming an excellent design thinker is stepping out of that comfort zone, trying new things and broadening our horizons.  What about starting a new hobby in a field that is not familiar to you at all, travelling to somewhere that you maybe never desired or talking to a stranger that works in a completely different job that you do.


You can’t do it alone

Open-minded collaboration is vital in Design Thinking. The whole team must be committed to work together and share their (even most stupid sounding) ideas. Do not become offended if your idea does not make it in the end. Also do not think that you have more experience on this issue because you are a senior team member.  Everyone’s input in the team is equal and valuable. It is important that you get a team with various backgrounds and knowledge for your project (Lockwood 2009, 43).

Only multi-talented team is not enough. Most importantly Design Thinking is a human centered approach. The basis of the human centered approach of design is the idea of intense observation (with all the senses) and empathy (Tschimmel 2012, 12). Listen and observe what your customer needs and include the customer in the design process from the early on. What you are after is a service or product that excites the customer and makes his or hers life easier. Customer participation in all stages of the design thinking process helps you to develop that diamond that stand out from its competitors.


Fail and get up again

Great innovation does not come without risk taking and high possibility for failure (Lockwood 2009, 43). In the early stages of your design thinking process, you must prototype, test and tweak you service or product according the feedback and results you receive. Be ready to let go your even great sounding ideas, if they just don’t work in practice. Maybe the worst sounding idea becomes a real gem and success? You will only know by allowing yourself to fail and to be imperfect during the process.




Design thinking: integrating innovation, customer experience and brand value 2010. Edited by Lockwood, Thomas. New York: Allworth Press. 2009.

Katja Tschimmel. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. 2012.

2 thoughts on “A person who never made a mistake, never tried Design Thinking

  1. The concept of experimentation and allowing the failure is essential to the DesignThinking process is really important not only to understand but also to actually allow onself to do. This was something I also underlined mentally during the Design Thinking course!

    Experimentation mentality might not be as easy to implement in real life, since western society is emphasizing so much success. This applies not only personal level (oh, how hard is it to sometimes show that one has failed to do something!) but also in many organizations where workers´ performance are measured of the outcomes, which usually are considered as the outcomes of only successes. Often the complex process behind the successful outcome (which includes FOR SURE plenty of failures) is not brought to the daylight.

    I am sure that in some organisations the management has the capacity to encourage towards the experimentation and failure but for the some there is a clear need for the mentality to change. Of course initially the change starts from the individual level.

    Luckily Design Thinking process is best to do with the teams (more brain- the bigger brain) and the experimentation-phase is know to be essential part of the DT process at least amongst the “design thinkers”. This, joining to the group of experimentation driven people helps the individual level fear of failure to diminish. 🙂

  2. I really like your point about everyones input being equal and valuable, after all, that’s what we are striving for. Its so important for designers to remember this, often we get attached to our ideas yet the input from the other perspectives is what differentiates good from great.

    I always find that writing about failure and telling others about it is much simpler than accepting it myself! Easier said than done they say. That’s part of our continual journey.

    And finally, an image I love that reminds me to get out of my comfort zone. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

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