Design Thinking vs design thinking
This research offers a comparison of the different uses of design thinking and investigates how design thinking is used within business models and compares this to the discipline of design’s practice of design thinking. It aims to clarify both the intended use of design thinking as conceived in the mid-20th century, and the current employment of design thinking which this research proposes has lost its way somewhat. This research also considers how the historic and contemporary models compare to each other and what roles and responsibilities design thinking has today. This research also recognises my own epiphany of how indigenous values can enable design and design thinking’s ability to contribute to positive impacts and innovations in the 21st century.
This research questions the now ubiquitous term ‘Design Thinking’ and asserts there is a misuse and confusion surrounding what could more accurately be described as a ‘coined moniker’ that is used interchangeably and unchallenged in both business and design practice. Initially grounded in a desire to define the differing practice or practices of Design Thinking/design thinking, considered in one scenario as a noun, the ‘codified workshop’, the other scenario, as a verb, and as a part of a designer’s mindset and method; this research aims to elucidate conceptions and misconceptions about design thinking. It also offers a broadened understanding of design thinking, borne of Design Science by design theorists active in the 20th century.
This study begins by using traditional qualitative research methods to undertake a historic inquiry. This is recorded chronologically but importantly this content is considered in relationship to its varied contexts. Having established the content and the contexts of the investigation the next steps involve participatory research methods in which interviews are undertaken with several design practitioners, discovering themes through affinity mapping exercises (Naylor, 2019 & Appendix A). Following this, the identification of both peer-reviewed and more topical open access discussions, podcasts and postings are included to establish the status quo of design thinking discourse and practice in the 21st century. The final phase of this research is a reflective conclusion in which the research is synthesised into a personal dialogue that introduces one of the most important findings of this study: the relevance of mātauranga Māori (Maori Knowledge) to the process and implementation of design thinking moving forward.
The result of the analysis and synthesis of this information is several design teaching tools that elucidate the ‘historic trajectory to date’ of design thinking and a clarification of the lexicon used by the discipline, tools employed, key terms projected and the voices speaking for and to design thinking. The purpose of these tools is to better project the complexity of the practice and enable emergent designers to have a better knowledge base to critique, grow, and benefit from the efficacy of design thinking within both design praxis and alongside corporate organisations, not-for-profits, start-ups, and charities alike.