Participating in a two-day master class on Design Thinking (DT), taught by Innovation Consultant Gijs van Wulfen and Design Professor Katja Tschimmel, marked the starting point of my studies in the 2014 SID MBA group at Laurea UAS and also served as a great reminder of why earlier this year, I felt the need to study again and catch up on the latest trends in Service Innovation and Design. I have built my career in an industry where a very traditional business mind-set of measuring success based solely on monthly financial reports and company rather than customer driven standards seems to dominate.
Comparing the designers’ approach to a traditional business approach and highlighting the differences seems to be a common way to illustrate what DT is about. According to Dr. Katja Tschimmel, the traditional business approach is often looking for “correct” answers through rational and analytical methods, whereas the DT approach is more open to being emotional, empathizing with the customer and using visual tools to communicate ideas. In their book titled “Designing for Growth: a design thinking toolkit for managers”, Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie note that the traditional business a approach and the DT approach are so fundamentally different yet so complementary that they can form a match made in heaven – or hell. When comparing the two approaches, Liedtka and Ogilvie point out many of the same differences as Tschimmel does, noting that design assumes human experience as its key decision driver.
In my opinion, the legendary IDEO shopping cart video is in many ways a great example of how designers think and how their methods and ways of working differ from the traditional business approach (click on the link below for the video):