The book is titled, "Design Thinking: Problem Solving in the Diverse Workplace, and People with Special Needs and Disabilities."
Amid the plethora of books on corporate must read lists, there are many that expound on the merits of Design Thinking to innovate in business development. What is Design Thinking (DT)?
The popular term of “design thinking” refers to a human-centered, structured process for innovation that can be applied to product, service, and business design as well as problem solving in social services, such as developing promising urban youth futures, or funding well digging ventures in Africa or improving the delivery of science lessons for fifth graders.
The success of Design Thinking is found in situations that call for creativity and innovation. In business, it needs team collaboration and a balanced consideration of product desirability, feasibility and viability to work.
Design Thinking employs a continuous evolving process through the stages: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. Within each stage, problems are framed; questions emerge, along with more ideas, until the best answers are evident and chosen. The steps can be simultaneous or linear and they are repeatable. Many of design thinking business trainings during the last decade can be traced to DT guru David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley of IDEO. David helped to launch Stanford’s d School, and trail blazed Design Thinking boots camps around the globe. DT boot camps emphasize business leader and team application of DT principles while also harnessing their creativity. The Kelley brothers advocate that all can cultivate their creative side in their book, Creative Confidence.
Is everyone capable of harnessing their creativity? In my recent interview with infamous frog design founder Hartmut Esslinger, he offers an opposing view, “only one in ten are truly creative,” Esslinger asserts. “The problem in society is that the left-brained people have the power. They make all the money. They’re rational; they manage companies as CEOs and so on. Steve Jobs was a rare exception. Most CEOs are number guys.”
Both David Kelly of IDEO and Hartmut Esslinger of frog design are the founders of the intertwined design thinking and human centered design movements. Both have contributed to some of our most valued innovations of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Esslinger provided Apple with the snow white designs of the first Apple IIe and the first proto types for the modern laptop computers and cell phone, While also at Apple, David Kelly worked with Esslinger providing innovative input with his engineering knowledge. Kelley went on to found the design thinking Boot camp at Stanford University and a rack of books on the topic. Dr. Esslinger won awards for his work, founded the Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Germany , and was hailed the most influential American industrial designer since the 1930s’ and ‘the first Superstar of High-Tech Design’ by Business Week. His human centered designs contributed to the iconic success of not only Apple, but also Louis Vuitton, Disney Cruise lines, Sony and others.
Is design thinking thriving? We only have to read the November 12th Times of India headline, “30,000 Infosys staff to be trained on design thinking. “ The Infosys chief executive officer Vishal Sikka plans to actively encourage thinking processes. Perhaps this executive and others are not finished creating more profitable innovations for their companies. Corporate executives that lack understanding and training in this vital collaborative approach to development may ignore this resource and miss their opportunity to impress 21st century consumers.
If you are interested in learning more about Design Thinking visit https://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/ for a test drive! Share if you learned anything new you can apply to problem solving and team projects. You are welcome to participate in the Center for Workplace Diversity Research’s Design Thinking research group!