Learning the essence of Design Thinking process

“There is no universal best DT process model, the choice innovation managers make depends on their disciplinary background and their personal taste.” says Katja Tschimmel in her article about Design Thinking process models and tools (Tschimmel 2012, 11). And this is also what she tells us listeners during our first hours of Design Thinking course (Design Thinking 2017). The decision of choosing of an appropriate Design Thinking model is influenced, among others, the characteristics of the task in question, its context, the composition of the team and its dynamics, the number of designers involved, and the time available for the process (Tschimmel 2012).

In the Design Thinking course, my very first basic course of Service Design and Service Design Thinking, I had the opportunity to test Tschimmel’s and Mindshake’s own Design Thinking process model Evolution 6². In the name of the model Evolution indicates to the creative, iterative, and interactive process of innovation. Number six refers to the six different phases which all begin with E (Emergence, Empathy, Experimentation, Elaboration, Exposition, Extension). And the squared number two symbols the moments of Exploration (divergence) and Evaluation (convergence) which occur in every phase of the process. (Mindshake 2017.)

Mindshake’s (2017) Evolution 6² model can be applied into several different models of innovation (e.g. product innovation, process innovation, marketing innovation, organisation innovation). Jon Kolko (2015, 70) writes that:” Every established company that has moved from products to services, from hardware to software, or from physical to digital products needs to focus anew on user experience.”. The great thing about Design Thinking is its applicability into different business fields and organisations of varying sizes. (Kolko 2015, Tschimmel 2012.)

But the main point in applying Design Thinking into business is not about fixing the surface, so to speak. It’s about changing the way people work and applying the principles into the everyday life and basic processes of companies. That’s why Kolko (2015) also emphasizes that the focus on great customer experiences should not be limited to product designers, marketers, and strategists. Customer (or user) experience is generated from every customer-facing function. That’s why Design Thinking principles should be included also in the tasks of people working in the customer interface.

According to Kolko (2015) Design Thinking has developed as a response to the increased complexity of modern technology and modern business. Design Thinking can help people and organisations making sense of the complexity and simplify and humanize it. However, design does not solve all problems. It works extremely well for innovations and imaging the future, but it is not a good tool for optimizing or streamlining. And it’s difficult, or even impossible, to evaluate and understand how much value will a better experience deliver and to calculate the return on an investment in creativity. (Kolko 2015)

I don’t have yet enough knowledge to evaluate how well does the Evolution 6² model fir to different design cases, or whether Design Thinking can easily be used in all business fields. But I’m really excited to learn more and gain more know-how, course by course.


Design Thinking (2017). A compulsory Design Thinking course for MA Service Design students. 8.-9.9.2017, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Espoo/Finland.
Kolko, Jon (2015). Design Thinking Comes of Age. The approach, once used primarily in product design, is now infusing corporate culture. Harvard Business Review. September 2015. 
Minshake (2017). Evolution 6² Innovation & Design Thinking Model (pocket tool leaflet of the model). (Additional infomartion can be found e.g. http://www.mindshake.pt/design_thinking?lang=en (28.9.2017))
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.

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