Creative professionals can also be design thinkers

I must confess that design thinking is a thing  I haven´t really thought about before I applied to Laurea University of Applied sciences to study the degree Master of Hospitality Management. One of the entrance examination tasks was a text about design thinking in hospitality  management. That was really the first time I read about it.

In any case I got in to school and now I have really started to study the art of design thinking. My studies started at Friday 2th September and Saturday 3th September 2016. Our instructors were Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença from Portugal and Satu Luojus from Finland. Check out this video that explains shortly what is design thinking.

According to Tschimmel (2016), Design Thinking has started in the seventies and it has always been a catalyst for innovation processes in product and service development. But only about seven years ago it started to gain popularity also in business management. Design Thinking is now understood as a way of thinking which can lead to transformation, evolution and innovation. It can lead to new forms of living and to new ways of business management.

Idris Moote (2013) trying to describe the culture of a design thinking organization:

Human-centric                                       Creative and innovative

Speed and agility                                  connected and flat

Adaptable and flexible                         Fun and playfull

Inspired                                                   Committed

Disruptive                                               High-energy

Passionate                                             Risk-taking


”Design thinking is the search for a magical balance between business and art; structure and chaos; intuition and logic; concept and execution; playfulness and formality; and control and empowerment.” –Idris  Moote

”Today, Design thinking (now written in upper cases) is understood as a complex thinking process of conceiving new realities, expressing the introduction of design culture and its methods into fields such as business innovation.” –Katja Tschimmel

There are different kinds of process models of the Design Thinking Process:

Check out for more information about Hasso-platner institute and IDEO:

Check out IBM Think Academys video about Design Thinking:

The model we used at school was MINDSHAKE model Evolution 6, 2012 – 2016.

There are many tools you can use to quicken and to free up your thinking process. You can use same tools with different process models. Mindshake model has six stages from inside to outside as you can see from the picture. In every stage you can use many different tools. The tools helps you to be creative and  take risks. It is also okay to do mistakes and take steps back to earlier stages in the process.

We started to test the Mindshake model and tools in groups. Our group had four members. We had an wonderful opportunity to test many tools according to mindshake model evolution 6. We started with mindmapping about our school and with mindmap we find out one problem to solve with our mindshake process by using different kind of tools of Design Thinking. We  decided to improve our schools electrical enviroments to get an easier user experience. It was not so easy topic to handle with these tools.

Stage one Emergence, tool: Mind mapping

Stage two Empathy, tool: stakeholder map

Stage three Experimentation, tool: desktop walktrough

Stage four Elaboration, tool:Service blueprint

Stage five Exposition, tool: Visual business model

This picture really inspired me. The guy in the picture is the famous chef Ferran Adria who had the worlds best restaurant El Bulli. He is a great example of a professional who is also a great design thinker! I am really looking forward to what we are going to do and learn next time at school. First time was a very promising experience though. Maybe I can become a design thinker too!

“Design thinking is not an experiment; it empowers and encourages us to experiment.”   -Idris Mootee

“Every future business leader needs to be a good design thinker” -Idris Mootee

Written by Juha-Pekka Ahvenainen, Master of Hospitality Management student at Laurea UAS


Mootee, Idris. 2013. Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School. Wiley.
Tschimmel, Katja. 2012. Design Thinking as an Effective Toolkit for Innovation. In Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.

One thought on “Creative professionals can also be design thinkers

  1. Hi!

    I think you nailed it! You got the concept right and even found a way to clearly share it. Unlike me! Good thing is I´m learning still and reading this blog gets me even deeper.

    Ferran Adria sure is a huge character. His influence, methods and work has changed the whole cooking scene in the past 10 years or so. Let´s get down to Barcelona and check him out:).

    Thanks for your post,

    Markus Alavaikko

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