Comunidad de diseñadores puertorriqueños

Design Thinking: new perspective


Is it possible to create a methodology that will guarantee innovation through design in today’s  world of business, organizations and corporations?  What’s the role of designers in the 21rst century? Maeda (2013) in the “Design Indaba Conference”, quoted Paul Rand’s 1996 definition of design at MIT conference as “Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions, there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” Another more contemporary definition of design is from Brown (2009) where he states that  “Design is a fundamentally endeavour, but I don’t mean this in a arcane or romantic sense. In an analytical paradigm, we solve for the missing number. In the design paradigm however, the solution is not locked away somewhere to be discovered, but lays in the creative work of the team. The creative process generates ideas and concepts that have not existed before ”. Now that we have a wide definition of design, we can start looking and analyzing what design thinking is and how it works in different contexts.

Throughout the years the profession of design has changed from an individual standpoint to a more collaborative one. Design now day’s plays a more social responsibly role, seeking for innovation.  Brown (2009) introduces a complex definition of design thinking in his book “Change by Design”. Brown defines design thinking as “A process that taps into the capacities we all have, but are overlooked by the more conventional problem solving practices. It is not only human centered, it is deeply human upon itself. Design thinking relays on our ability to be intuitive, construct ideas that have an emotional meaning as well functionality.”  Millman (2012) in her “Design Matter” podcast, interviews Brown, where he also defines design thinking as “Trying to speed up innovation around the big challenges that we face in today’s society”

As an aspiring designer, I agree with Brown’s both definition of design and design thinking. It’s important to look at design thinking from a methodological perspective that works as tools for not only designers, but entrepreneurs as well. The profession of design in other hand needs to bring other disciplines into the process in order to be relevant. We need to start viewing design as an interdisciplinary profession. In Millman’s “Design Matters” podcast (2009), Brown mentions that it’s important to have insights about what people need or might need in the future, and turn those insights into something that actually makes their life better. Basically we designers need to create positive impact in people’s lives. When engaging problems and looking for possible solutions we need to be sure that we are asking the right questions. Asking the right questions will help you to immerse yourself in context.

Brown (2009) mentions in “Change by Design”, that today’s problems can’t be solved by taking a consumption approach. The design process must be participatory. Here is where many corporations fail in the design process, they fail in incorporating their clients in the conceptualization process. This is one of the many reasons why design thinking has been so widely critiqued by multinationals. In my opinion you can’t package design thinking as a strictly  rigid process that like a math equation it will always have the same result.

Bown, T. (2009). Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation,    New York, NY: Harpercollins Publishers.

Millman, D. (2009). Design Matters Podcast. Podcast retrieved from:

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