Be empathic, try to understand what people really value
— David Kelley, Stanford Professor, Founder of IDEO & "spiritual father" of Design Thinking

Design thinking - A booming methodology

 

Design Thinking is a innovation methodology, developed at Stanford University, used to tackle business, organisational, and social challenges in innovative ways. These challenges can include, for example, the creation of new products, services, business models, processes or systems. 

The impact of design thinking is growing quickly.  From its Silicon Valley origins, this practical methodology is reaching more and more people and organizations around the world, while empowering them to tap into their creative potential.

Design thinking has seeped into the culture of world-leading corporations such as Ford Motor Company, Proctor & Gamble, and SAP.  It is also helping to transform the nonprofit and social-enterprise sectors, where organizations like d.light,  Acumen Fund, and the Rockefeller Foundation use human-centered tools to tackle poverty and health challenges in the developing world. 

Following the trailblazing example set by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (better know as the d.school), other educational institutions---such as Harvard and the Universities of Potsdam and Toronto---are integrating design thinking into their curriculum, and launching similar collaborative hubs.  The DT Lab and UiT are excited to be a part of this worldwide movement!

60 MINUTES ON DAVID KELLEY AND DESIGN THINKING. CHECK IT OUT BELOW!

Key components of design thinking

Empathy & Human-Centeredness

One of the primary objectives of design thinkers is to gaining a deep understanding for human needs.  Design thinkers ask questions like:  What are the intrinsic drivers of an individual’s actions?  Why do people follow certain patterns?  How can we understand these patterns at the deepest level to offer people delightful, innovative products and services that fulfill important human needs in compassionate ways?  And as design thinkers, we use ethnographic tools to answer these questions.

Rapid Prototyping & Iterations

Design thinkers embrace trial and error, and use low-cost, low-tech prototypes to test their assumptions as early in the innovation process as possible.  Design thinkers understand that only through failure will they be able to learn what works and what doesn’t work.  “Fail early to succeed sooner” is a common design-thinking mantra.  We'd also rather ask for forgiveness than for permission—event if it gets us in a bit of trouble with the higher ups once in a while.

Diversity & Collaboration

Design thinking depends significantly on radical collaboration and co-creation.  It is through the mixing of multiple perspectives, ideas, and approaches that the creative process flourishes.  Design thinkers leverage diversity in all its forms—gender, cultural, academic, professional, etc.—o break with the status quo, and concoct impactful, transformative solutions to complex problems.

Ambiguity & Playfulness

The innovative process is inherently ambiguous, messy, and difficult to control.  Design thinkers embrace this ambiguity and chaos through open-mindedness, flexibility, and a youthful sense of experimentation and play.  We take our work very seriously—but ourselves not so seriously.

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit learning about design thinking with David Kelley during a visit to the Stanford d.school in May 2013. Courtesy of Stanford Office of International Affairs http://oia.stanford.edu/news/their-royal-highnesses-crown-prince-haakon-and-crown-princess-mette-marit-norway-visit-stanford

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit learning about design thinking with David Kelley during a visit to the Stanford d.school in May 2013. Courtesy of Stanford Office of International Affairs http://oia.stanford.edu/news/their-royal-highnesses-crown-prince-haakon-and-crown-princess-mette-marit-norway-visit-stanford