Design Thinking and the Technology Industry: From principles to practice 

Design transcended from aesthetic to using its principles for creating impact in organizations. Consequently, the term design thinking emerged. 

There is no fit to every scenario definition of design innovation and design thinking available in the literature, nor a universal definition of it agreed upon by professionals and researchers working in design thinking. But according to our understanding:  

Design thinking is a collaborative process to develop meaningful knowledge from a heap of random information.

Typically, product developers and designers use it at work to better understand their user’s needs, problems, goals, and topics and then design the product with that information in mind. But more and more professionals use it – and they should! 

Design thinking helps people to elaborate ideas, and allows teams to cooperate and brainstorm. It opens space for bringing empathy as a central focus point.  

Design Thinking as a tool for Information Technology Industry  

The Information Technology industry has been booming since the beginning of this millennium. It employs millions of individuals worldwide and is the focal point for continuous innovation and development.  

Design thinking has been incorporated extensively in IT companies. It brings the flexibility that organizations need to adapt to their cultures according to their own business complexity and challenging scenarios. Also, it is helpful to brainstorm solutions to different sorts of customer problems.  

All the business adopts iteration and accepts failure, the customer experience is centralized, and therefore empathy plays a crucial role in the business operations regarding decision making. The teams learn how to incorporate creativity, embrace failure and aim for innovation. 

For example, the IT industry has been commonly working with the Agile methodology for project management, which requires different iterative processes to complete a design project. Besides, their decision-making is often based on big-data analysis. This is part of strategic planning, also used by IT organizations.  

The advantages of using design thinking in the IT industry for development are the clear incorporation of design principles for an effective and feasible business development that leads to innovation: 

  • The Customer experience is at the core
  • The solutions are Prototyped
  • The results are Verified
  • The best solutions are Accepted 
  • Iterations are part of the process 
  • Small Cross-functional teams are put together 
  • Incremental delivery is possible
  • Quick Feedback helps the designers and developers  
  • Continuous Improvement is part of the process 
Figure 1: Continuous improvement cycle, in the linear sequence of circles. 

Design thinking principles have grown so much in the IT industry that nowadays world-renowned companies have made it mandatory for their employees across the globe to undergo design thinking certifications. Design thinkers are no longer only designers and product developers, they are the ones who understand that everything practical cannot be designed without creating it, testing it, and verifying it.  

We, as students, have been affiliated with diverse professional backgrounds. We are privileged that the Design thinking course was held face to face for this implementation, after a gap of two years, as it has opened new horizons for us. Design Thinking has influenced the way handle problems from service innovation and design point of view. According to our Design Thinking teacher Katja Schimmel, “design students should become process experts with context-sensitivity and a human-centered systemic view”.  

Now, it’s enough about Design Thinking here’s a meme to brighten up your day. 

References

Kolko, J. (2015). Design Thinking Comes of Age. Harvard Business Review.  

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

Tschimmel, K. (2021). Creativity, Design and Design Thinking – A Human-Centred ménage à trois for Innovation. In Perspectives on Design II. Ed. Springer “Serie in Design and Innovation”.  

Tschimmel, K. (2022). Design Thinking course lectures, September 2nd and 3rd 2022. Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Espoo, Finland.    

Tschimmel, K. (2022). Design vs. Design Thinking. In Creativity and Innovation Affairs. Porto. 

Tutorials Point. Design Thinking. IT Industry.

Shift Up. Combining Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile Development. Everyone Misses the Point of Continuous Innovation.  

Written by Ahsan Zia & Gabriela Schemberg, SID MBA Students at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Espoo, Finland. 

2 thoughts on “Design Thinking and the Technology Industry: From principles to practice 

  1. I like how neatly you summarized the origins of design thinking, how it is used today and how the definition may vary. The latter is something I noticed as well in the beginning, but have since come to realize that the most important thing is to nurture the mindset and utilize the tools to achieve results, not get caught up in parallel terminology.

    The meme you posted made me chuckle – it’s funny, and also reminds me of what I read in “Designing for Growth” by Liedtka & Ogilvie – if the design thinking methods are applied only half-way and ideation sessions (with tons of post-its) are never followed up with actual results, it is considered a waste of time by most attendees, making them sceptical towards creative methods in the future (and look like Woody… :D). Having experienced that myself a couple of times as well, this was important insight into why a structured approach is helpful.

  2. Interesting view of design thinking vs. Agile methodology. I had never thought of it from that perspective.

    As for the meme, I’m sure Woody wouldn’t look so terrified if he’d been part of a Design Thinking workshop from the beginning 😉

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