The other day I watched once more Gary Hustwits’ documentary on “Design Thinking”. The term got coined by Stanford, but it’s not a new thing. Design thinking has been around for decades, and was apparently introduced to distinguish between what’s visible and the thought behind it.
It’s a framework for problem-solving. Problems such as hunger, epidemic outbreaks, redesigning the savings experience, or designing a car that saves energy. The framework allows its users to think about and explore different alternative solutions that can solve very hairy problems. It also allows you to reframe the question asked. As it was pointed out during the movie, it allows you to solve problems in a team with intra-disciplinary people because:
You don’t know what you don’t know. You need to be responsive and adaptive to change.
I think that brings it very much to the point. Today’s problems have become so complex and they don’t fit into any discipline, hence we need collaboration as hybrid-thinkers. You don’t need to be a creative person to do that, but can apply perspective to solve problems, be mindful, brainstorm and synthesize ideas, iterate through prototypes and show them to people. Design thinking allows you to think in an integrated way and about systems.
For those used to having to get it right the first time, design thinking will be a welcome change. In a way you can think of it as some sort of agile method to get to a solution that will work.
What design thinking is not though is a formula that will solve all problems.