Blog · August 13, 2019

Mindset? Process? A Comprehensive Descriptive Model for Design Thinking

by John Doe
Design thinking has become crucial for many activities in the business world as well as in other contexts. However, design thinking is still a rather nebulous phenomenon in literature as well as in practice. As Carlgren et al. (2016, 49) state:

There is a need for a description of DT that is less normative and static and that is specific enough to be able to frame it as a concept, yet flexible enough to allow for variety in its local use. There is also a need for a description that takes account of the various facets of use, so that DT can be seen as a process, or as methods, a toolbox, a mental approach, a culture or a mix thereof. This could mean that researchers studying DT would not have to rely on, for example, the process, which is one of the more common descriptions but which does not capture what goes on in the name of DT in many organizations.

The physical space in design thinking

In this article, I propose a comprehensive three-part descriptive model for design thinking that is based on previous research (Hassi & Laakso, 2011 and Carlgren et al., 2016). Therewith I aim to provide a description of design thinking that is both tangible and lives up to the richness of design thinking.

A simple way to visualize this operating model is to think of it as having two parts, each requiring companies to adopt major changes in the way they work:

  • To sum up, the first three phases are about ensuring that a significant problem or user need is identified and addressed.
  • Only then, in the next three phases, is the focus on creating solutions for the problems that have been identified: different ideas are generated, the ideas are made tangible in the form of prototypes and the design team gets feedback from the users right away.
Johnson arrives at the Foreign Office in London on July 15, 2016.
Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Teamwork plays an important role in design thinking; therefore an open, teamwork-promoting spatial structure is important. Furthermore, the space should stimulate the team so that it is prompted to use easily accessible materials for building rapid prototypes. Next, the versatility of the premises is relevant in the form of various working areas and surfaces, so that the principle of visualization can be followed. Lastly, a flexible room design makes it possible to easily adapt the space to the respective needs (e.g., standing vs. sitting, focus vs. activity).

The current stalemate does not indicate a wavering U.S. commitment to the negotiations, one of the people said.

‘Concrete Indications’

Guersent’s comments echoed those made last week by Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU’s financial-services chief, who said the EU is “counting on the new U.S. administration to explain their priorities so that we can make progress” at Basel. “At this stage we do not have any concrete indications” from the U.S., he said.

John Doe

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