This Month's Best Stories About Design Thinking
Inspiration Ideas

This Month's Best Stories About Design Thinking

Sahil Thakkar

Design thinking is one of the fastest growing trends today. It is poised to be bigger than ever in 2021, so let’s take a look at some of the most significant recent stories in the field as the first month of the new year draws to a close.

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Design Thinking

This excellent new blog from the Association for Talent Development highlights the five key stages of design thinking and frames them around the power of agility. It mainly covers how agility supercharges every part of design thinking, especially in today’s mile-a-minute digital age where everything is in flux and subject to radical disruption at all times.

2. Designing Our World: When The Customer Actually Comes First

This recent podcast from NPR dives into the philosophy behind design thinking. Design titans Michael Hendrix, Kate Canales, Doug Dietz, and Jennifer Brandel share their perspective on the importance and relevance of design thinking in today’s world, especially for companies looking to effectively overcome complex problems and be successful. It also discusses how design thinking is inherently human-centered, and how it ties into innovation at all levels.

3. New Design Council CEO Minnie Moll: “You can’t retrofit design thinking”

This blog from Design Week highlights the perspective of Minnie Moll, the incoming CEO of the Design Council, a UK-based charity whose stated mission is "to champion great design that improves lives and makes things better". She talks about how learning and engaging with the people you’re trying to help is an integral part of design thinking.  This is an insightful interview that shows how design thinking goes beyond just theory, and delves into its execution on all levels.

4. Design thinking: How a human-centered culture drives transformation success

This article from The Enterprisers Project makes a convincing argument as to why design thinking should be an integral component of your organization’s digital transformation strategy. It talks about how building a culture of empathy and humanity fosters trust and support all around.

5. Richard Perez: Tech overload a danger to design thinking’s humanism

This opinion piece from Business Day analyzes how design thinking factors into problem-solving. According to Richard Perez, ‘Companies that have placed design thinking at the heart of what they do have outpaced their competitors for years. It is design thinking’s insistence on making empathy its point of departure that makes it so effective. It approaches a problem not from the points of feasibility or viability, but from the point of desirability. It doesn’t try to solve a problem by looking at how much money it will cost to solve and what the returns might be, nor does it solve a problem by looking at the technology available. It solves a problem by asking what the end user, the human, wants and needs in the solution.’

This is an interesting perspective on design thinking, one that views it as a tool more than a concept. And it is certainly accurate. Design thinking is indeed an essential tool in every innovator’s toolbox, and one that should be used more often.

6. Embracing Sustainable Digital Design

This article from CMSWire looks at design thinking through the lens of sustainability. The article posits, ‘In every design decision we make we must think about the earth experience. Does this decision contribute to or reduce global warming? How can we design for people to think more and act less, and when they do act that they will act much more deliberately and earth consciously?’ It’s a timely and very relevant look into how design thinking and sustainability are actually connected in very important and meaningful ways.

Those are our six best design thinking stories from this month! Which one was your favorite? And do you have any more? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!