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The need for twenty-first century mindsets and protocols has sparked interest in design thinking. That is a human-centered, prototype-driven process for the exploration of new ideas that can be applied to operations, products, services, strategies, and even management.
Proposition 18
Design Thinking
In a Word The need for twenty-rst century mindsets and protocols has sparked
interest in design thinking. That is a human-centered, prototype-driven process for
the exploration of new ideas that can be applied to operations, products, services,
strategies, and even management.
A Design for Life
In a world of continuous ux, where markets mature faster and everyone is affected
by information overload, organizations regard innovation, including management
innovation, as the prime driver of sustainable competitive advantage. To unlock
opportunities, some of them use mindsets and protocols from the eld of design to
make out unarticulated wants and deliberately imagine, envision, and spawn futures.
Design is more important when function is taken for granted and no longer helps
stakeholders differentiate. In the last ve years, design thinking has emerged as the
quickest organizational path to innovation and high-performance, changing the way
creativity and commerce interact.
In the past, design was a downstream step in the
product development process, aiming to enhance the appeal of an existing product.
In truth, companies such as Apple in particular, but also General Electric, Levi Strauss, Nike, and
Procter & Gamble, to name a few, pioneered the notion some time ago.
©Asian Development Bank 2017
O. Serrat, Knowledge Solutions, DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-0983-9_18
Today, however, organizations ask designers to imagine solutions that meet explicit
or latent needs and to build upstream entire systems that optimize customer
experience and satisfaction.
Therefore, although the term designis commonly understood to describe an
object (or end result), it is in its latest and most effective form a process, an action,
and a verb, not a noun: essentially, it is a protocol to see, shape, and build. Lately,
design approaches are also being applied to infuse insight into the heart of cam-
paigns and address social and other concerns.
The proper study of mankind is the science of design.
Herbert Simon
Dening Design
Simon (1969)
dened design as the changing of existing conditions into preferred
Design thinking, then, is about using the sensibilities and methodologies that
characterize designers to create new ideas, new alternatives, new choices, and new
viabilities that satisfy stakeholder desires. It is fundamentally abductive,
even if
designers still induce patterns and deduce answers.
Stemming from abductive reasoning, design thinking is empathic, personal,
subjective, interpretive, integrative, experimental, synthetic, pictorial, dialectical,
See, for instance, Brown and Wyatt (2010). In 2007, Oxfam approached IDEO, a global design
consultancy, with a brief. How might the charity better educate people to understand climate
change? How might Oxfam translate that understanding into a better relationship with donors?
Herbert Simon (19162001) was an American political scientist, economist, and psychologist
whose research ranged across the elds of cognitive psychology, computer science, public
administration, economics, management, philosophy of science, sociology, and political science.
Herbert Simon saw that the rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the
cognitive limitations of their minds, and the nite amount of time they have to make decisions.
Bounded rationalityleads them to satisce, that is, choose what might not be optimal but will
make them sufciently happy.
Abduction is the process of inference to most likely, or best, explanations from accepted facts.
Deduction means determining the conclusion. For example: When it rains, the grass gets wet. It
rains. Thus, the grass is wet.Induction means determining the rule. To illustrate: The grass has
been wet every time it has rained. Thus, when it rains, the grass gets wet.Abduction means
determining the precondition. For instance: When it rains, the grass gets wet. The grass is wet, it
must have rained.Abductive thinking is very close to the concept of lateral thinking, for which
numerous tools exist.
130 18 Design Thinking
opportunistic, and optimistic. It is a frame of mind for problem solving that can
balance legitimate needs for stability, efciency, and predictability with the
requirement for spontaneity, experimentation, and serendipity. In the conceptual
it is a people rstapproach to the full spectrum and minutiae of innovation
activities that has applications in operations, products, services, strategies, and even
If Id asked my customers what they wanted, theyd have said a faster horse.
Henry Ford
Inside the Design Thinking Process
Design thinking revolves around three key phases: inspiration, ideation, and
During these phases, problems are framed, questionsalso about
questionsare asked, ideas are generated, and answers are obtained. The phases are
not linear; they can take place concurrently and can also be repeated to build up ideas
along the continuum of innovation. The design thinking process allows information
and ideas to be organized, choices to be made, situations to be improved, and
knowledge to be gained as depicted in Roger Martins three-stage funnel.
Design thinking is, inherently, a prototyping process powering deep under-
standing of what people want in their lives as well as what they like (or not) about
the way that is made, packaged, marketed, sold, and supported. To this end,
Pink (2005) has identied six high-concept, high-touch abilities that have become crucial in the
conceptual age. (The term conceptual economydescribes the contribution of creativity, inno-
vation, and design skills to economic competitiveness, especially in the global context.) The six
abilities are design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. By high-concept, he means the
ability to detect patterns and opportunities, to shape artistic and emotional beauty, to craft satis-
fying narratives, to fuse apparently unrelated ideas into an invention. By high-touch, he connotes
the ability to understand the subtleties of human interaction, empathize, and nd happiness in the
pursuit of purpose and meaning. Design is one profession that relies on all six abilities.
It can, for instance, be used to develop and drive strategy, open new markets, fashion new
offerings, formulate new business models, identify new applications for technology, articulate new
ways of connecting to customers, and forge new partnerships.
Some articulate these further into seven: dene, research, ideate, prototype, choose, implement,
and learn.
The rst stage of the knowledge funnel is the investigation of a mystery (that may have several
forms). The second is the delineation of a heuristic, viz., an educated guess, intuitive judgment,
rule of thumb, or simple common sense, that narrows the area of inquiry so that it may be
managed. The third is the creation of an algorithm, viz., a formula. As one moves down the funnel,
one creates efciency but must necessarily leave things out (Martin 2009).
Dening Design 131
multidisciplinary teams of T-shaped individuals
are encouraged to fail often to
succeed sooner through trial and error: innovations do not arise from incremental
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
Steve Jobs
By the same token, design is never done: a market is always changing, least of
all because good ideas are copied, and design must change with it. Design success
is the integration of design thinking into an organization: at that level, it becomes a
powerful tool to solve unpredictable problems.
Designing Business
To Heather Fraser, the greatest payout of design thinking lies in the design of
strategies and business models for organizational performance that creates both
economic and human value. Broadening the denition of design, she argues that it
can be the path to understanding stakeholder needs, the tool for visualizing new
solutions, and the process for translating cutting-edge ideas into effective strategies
(Fraser 2009). Heather Fraser, from whose work the following draws, sees three
iterative gears in business design. Anchored in the needs of stakeholders, they apply
deep user understanding to stimulate high-value conceptual visualizations and
extract from these the strategic intent needed to reform business models.
Gear One: Deep User Understanding The rst step is to turn the telescope
around to reframe the organization and view its business entirely through the
eyes of the customer (and, of course, other critical stakeholders). It is necessary
to look beyond the direct use of an organizations products or services to the
contexts in which they are located, in terms of the activities surrounding their
utilization, to gain deeper insight and broader behavioral and psychographic
perspectives. It is also critical to understand the whole personengaged in any
given activitynot just what they do, but how they feel and how their needs
surrounding their activities link to other parts of their life.
T-shaped individuals possess deep knowledge in a core area of expertise as well as broad
knowledge in disciplines such as management, nance, and business operations. Kelley (2008)of
IDEO has also observed a number of roles that people can play in an organization to foster
innovation and new ideas and offer an effective counterpoint to naysayers. They are the anthro-
pologist, the experimenter, the cross-pollinator, the hurdler, the collaborator, the director, the
experience architect, the set designer, the caregiver, and the storyteller.
132 18 Design Thinking
Gear Two: Concept Visualization With renewed empathy and a broader set of
criteria for innovation serving as springboard, creativity can be unleashed and
move through multiple-prototyping and concept enrichment, ideally with users.
It is vital to look beyond what is to what could be, using imagination to generate
altogether new-to-the-world solutions. At this stage, there are no constraints,
only possibilities. Engaging all functions and disciplines on the team infuses
ideas into the process, forties team alignment, and prepares the traction that
will lock down strategies and activate them later.
Gear Three: Strategic Business Design With well-dened, user-inspired
solutions at hand the third gear aligns broad concepts with future reality. This
entails prototyping business models to integrate their parts and assess the impact
of the activity system as a whole. It is imperative to identify what will drive the
success of the solutions; prioritize what activities an organization must under-
take to deliver related strategies; dene relationships strategically, operationally,
and economically; and determine what net impacts the new business models will
Brown T, Wyatt T (2010) Design thinking for social Innovation. Stanford Social Innovation
Review. Winter
Fraser H (2009) Designing business: new models for success. Design Manage Rev 20(2):5565
Kelley T (2008) The ten faces of innovation. Prole Books Ltd
Martin R (2009) The design of business: why design thinking is the next competitive advantage.
Harvard Business School Publishing
Pink D (2005) A whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule the future. Penguin Books Ltd
Simon H (1969) The sciences of the articial. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press
Further Reading
Dunne D, Martin R (2006) Design thinking and how it will change management education: an
interview and discussion. Academy of Management Learning & Education 5(4):512523
Designing Business 133
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views of the Asian Development Bank, its Board of Directors, or the countries they represent.
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134 18 Design Thinking
... There are many groups in Taiwan, and schools popularize design thinking through workshops and curricula; there are also a number of cases where it is applied to enterprises. In the field of design, there are many studies on design thinking [6][7][8][9][10], but the number of studies on the application of design thinking to teaching or textbooks and the factors influencing student learning and learning effectiveness are rather small. Therefore, this study took the design thinking method as the teaching material to explore its teaching model and the key points for successful teaching, and the research focus was placed on teaching guidelines and the teacher-student relationship. ...
Full-text available
Due to industrial demand and the influence of government policies, the number of design colleges and students specializing in design in Taiwan has been increasing year by year. As a result, the topics on design education have gained great attention. To adapt to the rapidly-changing society, training that is designed to strengthen the professionalism and integration ability of those design majors should also be adjusted. Unlike traditional teaching methods, Stanford Design Thinking is a people-oriented problem-solving method. Proceeding from human needs, it offers creative solutions to various topics. Placing emphasis on integrated team communication and the cooperation and exchange among interdisciplinary talents, it is a new teaching model in response to the changes to the design environment. In this study, Stanford Design Thinking was introduced to the integrated design curriculum education as a creativity teaching strategy, and the action research method was adopted to explore the learning effectiveness of the design thinking method. According to the findings, the design thinking method can improve teaching; it can promote student participation through interview training in class during the Empathize stage; it offers substantial assistance to students in actual interviews; it reveals information about the demands of target groups, deepens students’ discussions on design-related topics, and creates a favorable atmosphere for teaching; it fosters a positive interaction between students and teachers and makes students more attentive in class. Inspired by this teaching method, students can independently seek product-testing objects to review their design concepts and develop a stronger motivation for self-learning.
... This usually requires to involve experts and practitioners from several disciplines in the process of generating and evaluating ideas and forming new concepts. Design thinking not only requires to survey and analyze the users' needs but also to envision what products and technologies users may want -without yet being aware of that desire [22]. Therefore, design thinking often involves the creation of prototypes which are tested, discarded and reviewed again. ...
Full-text available
We present the design of a system combining augmented reality (AR) and gamification to support elderly persons’ rehabilitation activities. The system is attached to the waist; it collects detailed movement data and at the same time augments the user’s path by projections. The projected AR-elements can provide location-based information or incite movement games. The collected data can be observed by therapists. Based on this data, the challenge level can be more frequently adapted, keeping up the patient’s motivation. The exercises can involve cognitive elements (for mild cognitive impairments), physiological elements (rehabilitation), or both. The overall vision is an individualized and gamified therapy. Thus, the system also offers application scenarios beyond rehabilitation in sports. In accordance with the methodology of design thinking, we present a first specification and a design vision based on inputs from business experts, gerontologists, physiologists, psychologists, game designers, cognitive scientists and computer scientists.
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According to a study by the Department of Statistics, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan, a total of 15,145 people had a voice function impairment or speech function impairment, and a total of 122,533 people had a hearing impairment by the second quarter (Q2) of 2018. Hearing and speech are the most commonly used sensory functions for communication. Therefore, a person will suffer unimaginable difficulties with the loss of both functions during her/his life. The problems that a handicapped student might encounter during school are often neglected. The way a teacher teaches during a class and how a student interacts with others should be highlighted. The deficiency in assistive devices for hearing- and speech-impaired people is due to several factors. In fact, there is insufficient information and not enough researchers. The translation of language by foreign assistive devices is more rigorous; however, domestic resources for assistive devices for hearing- and speech-impaired people are limited. No relevant information on learning through assistive devices is available. The subject examined in this study was a hearing-impaired student in her junior year, who lost speech capability after an ear stroke. This study examined the problems that she encountered during her learning in a class with average students. After a literature review and the investigation of the case study, user experience and design thinking approaches were implemented for the development of an assistive device. A class learning assistive system, which is based on a simple innovative design and a highly flexible combination of elements, was created. After a series of experimental verifications and improvements, the results indicated that this learning assistive system could effectively enhance the research subject’s confidence and autonomy during learning in class.
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Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, is interviewed on the subject of "design thinking"—approaching managerial problems as designers approach design problems—and its potential impact on management education. Under a design-thinking paradigm, students would be encouraged to think broadly about problems, develop a deep understanding of users, and recognize the value in the contributions of others. In Martin's view, the concept of design thinking can potentially address many of the criticisms currently being leveled at MBA programs. The interview is followed by a discussion and critique of the themes Martin raises.
The greatest benefit of design thinking comes when it is used to design the very business it serves—to craft its strategies and business models. This author introduces “three gears of business design,” a methodology that incorporates user understanding, prototyping, and strategy to meet today's rapidly evolving business challenges.
Lawyers. Accountants. Radiologists. Software engineers. That's what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of "left brain" dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which "right brain" qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate. That's the argument at the center of this provocative and original book, which uses the two sides of our brains as a metaphor for understanding the contours of our times. In the tradition of Emotional Intelligence and Now, Discover Your Strengths, Daniel H. Pink offers a fresh look at what it takes to excel. A Whole New Mind reveals the six essential aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend, and includes a series of hands-on exercises culled from experts around the world to help readers sharpen the necessary abilities. This book will change not only how we see the world but how we experience it as well.
Continuing his exploration of the organization of complexity and the science of design, this new edition of Herbert Simon's classic work on artificial intelligence adds a chapter that sorts out the current themes and tools -- chaos, adaptive systems, genetic algorithms -- for analyzing complexity and complex systems. There are updates throughout the book as well. These take into account important advances in cognitive psychology and the science of design while confirming and extending the book's basic thesis: that a physical symbol system has the necessary and sufficient means for intelligent action. The chapter "Economic Reality" has also been revised to reflect a change in emphasis in Simon's thinking about the respective roles of organizations and markets in economic systems.
A whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule the future. Penguin Books Ltd Simon H (1969) The sciences of the artificial
  • T Kelley
Kelley T (2008) The ten faces of innovation. Profile Books Ltd Martin R (2009) The design of business: why design thinking is the next competitive advantage. Harvard Business School Publishing Pink D (2005) A whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule the future. Penguin Books Ltd Simon H (1969) The sciences of the artificial. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press Further Reading
The ten faces of innovation
  • T Kelley
The design of business: why design thinking is the next competitive advantage
  • R Martin