What Design Thinking Means to Me

And how it can bring value to your practice


My working definition of design thinking:

An approach that put the humans at the heart of what you’re making, within technical constraints of your product, and the goals of your business.

People first

Start from the customer’s point of view. Work to understand the people using your product and ask them for feedback.

Find the experts

Involve multiple disciplines in planning. Design will benefit by when diverse people contribute their expertise to a project.

Make it tangible

Create collaboration spaces. Shared understand increases when ideas live outside of your brain.

Stay flexible

Be agile and embrace change. When you learn something new use what you’ve learned to improve what you’re making.

Don’t break things

But, do develop a risk-taking culture. Create an environment where your team supports each other and feels safe challenging perceived norms.

OK, hippie

All this peace, love, and understanding didn’t move you? How about money? According to Forrester Research, developing mature design thinking practices contribute to a “substantial measurable returns and a broad range of auxiliary benefits”, with a return on investment of 85%.

If you’d like to bring design thinking into your organization let me know. I can help with live and remote workshops.


Content of this article is based on a design thinking workshop I have been running for aspiring user experience designers at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.