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.

Start from the customer’s point of view

People first. Work to understand they people using your product and ask them for feedback.

Involve multiple disciplines in planning

Find the experts. Design benefits by have diverse people contribute their knowledge to a project.

Create collaboration spaces

Make it tangible. Shared understand increases When ideas share a place outside of your brain.

Be agile and embrace change

Stay flexible. When you learn something new use what you’ve learned to improve what you’re making.

Develop a risk-taking culture

Don’t break things. Do 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.