Starting a deep dive to Design Thinking

This fall, my SID studies in at Laurea started with a crash course on Design Thinking.  The two fully packed days served as a first introduction to the theme – and not the least, getting to know the multidisciplinary team of international SID students.

Design Thinking has been recently understood as way of thinking, leading to change and innovation. More than a motor for innovation, or a mindset, Design Thinking is offering models of processes and toolkits that can be used in every creative process by multidisciplinary teams, connecting creative design approach to traditional business thinking. Today, it is much explored in the fields of innovation management and marketing, helping to bring some of the abilities of designers to solve and to visualize problems in a creative way. It is also widely used in the public sector, by cities and governments as well as by social entrepreneurs.

img_7441.jpgKatja Tschimmel acted as our guide to lead us further to discover creative thinking, fluidity in ideation and exploring the design thinking process and use of E6 Toolkit by her design company Mindshake.  There is no one and only best process or tools, she states, it is up to the companies and innovation managers to choose the best models that suit the individual needs of their projects and organisations and context.

fullsizerender-5.jpg10 Design Thinking principles for innovative organisations

How to become a Design  Thinking organisation? In his inspiring and practical  book Design Thinking for Strategic innovation (2013) Mootee defines Design Thinking “As a magical balance between business and art” and describes it as a framework for a human-centered approach to strategic innovation and a new management paradigm for value creation. He argues that for organisations adopting design thinking the framework is always cultural: “Design thinking is not experimentation but it promotes a culture of experimentation”.  Design thinking should be carefully integrated adopted in the traditional management practices and be positioned as a logical creative tool to drive innovation and transformation.

Mootee presents 10 principles of design thinking for organisations who want to be innovative. Below, I chose five of those principles, that summarize the essential of Design Thinking.

(1) Action-oriented: it proposes cross-disciplinary of learning-by-doing approach. It requires a mix of multidisciplinary thinkers and collaboration, hands-on doing and experimentation.

(2) Foresight oriented – Foresight opens the future. It also encourages a culture with comfortability with the unknown and inadequate information

(3) Human-centric and (4) Promotes Empathy – Design Thinking organisation is always human-centric. It puts users at the core and presents various methods and tools for listening and understanding the users expectations, values, motivation, need, practices and presents insights based on these to create services of the future.

(5) A dynamic constructive process – it is always an iterative process and here prototyping becomes an important tool.

With background in marketing where the key to success comes from customer centric approach the principles of Design Thinking are easy to adopt.  So, what do I need to become a design thinker?  Tim Brown summarizes the five characteristics of a design thinker: Empathy, Integrative Thinking, Optimism, Experimentalism and Collaboration. This,  I can start cultivating in my everyday work – It may work in personal life too.


Mootee, Idris. Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central.

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.

Tim Brown, Design Thinking Harvard Business Review, 2008


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