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  • Writer's pictureSamina Rahman

Top 10 things to read if you want to understand Design Thinking!

Google the term Design Thinking, and it will give you about One Billion hits in under a second (not kidding!). So, for those looking to understand what Design Thinking means at a very basic level, it can understandably become quite daunting. But worry not... For the benefit of the interested souls, here is a personally curated (and reviewed) list of Top 10 articles and videos you can immerse yourself into, which will help you get up to speed with what this buzzword actually means:

1) The Design Thinking Wikipedia Page

Nope. Don't even try to make sense of the text on this page. This page is very confusing, overwhelming, and tries to cover too much in a very small digital real estate. And the outcome is not very good. So don’t try to decipher what it all means. Just watch the video subtly embedded in the page – yes! I’m sure you probably would have missed this completely up until now. Personally, I’ve found this video one of the best ways to understand as well as explain what Design Thinking is. Page link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_thinking

2) The Explainer Video by HBR – Design Thinking 

Got 2 mins? Here is another video which briefly explains what Design Thinking is, what are the main aspects of DT relevant for a business, and how it plays a role in coming up with business strategy. It talks about a simple case example of Oil of Olay, and how P&G understood the needs of the market and experimented to come up with a successful new product. Video Link: https://hbr.org/video/4443548301001/the-explainer-design-thinking

3) EDIPT Explained - By Benjamin Miller on Medium

One of the most famous frameworks of Design Thinking is EDIPT (Empathize-Define-Ideate-Prototype-Test). This article by Benjamin Hunter Miller on Medium explains the EDIPT framework in a crisp and effective manner, and can give you a good starting point to understand this process. Page link: https://medium.com/@bhmiller0712/what-is-design-thinking-and-what-are-the-5-stages-associated-with-it-d628152cf220

4) The Double Diamond deconstructed - by Dan Nessler on Medium

The Double Diamond model is one of the most effective ways of explaining how exploration, evaluation, filtration and development come together in the design process. Originally shared by the Design Council UK, the Double Diamond now has become one of the most famous visualisations of how the Design Thinking process works. But this article is not just about the basic double diamond. If you want to understand how Design Thinking (or any human-centered process) works, this is must read! It takes the reader into the world of existing Design Thinking frameworks, and then breaks them down to logic behind each step, only to create a comprehensive framework that offer great problem solving potential. If you like his reading style, do read the follow up posts shared at the bottom of his article, to see how the concept has evolved from the writer in the past 2 years. Page link: https://medium.com/digital-experience-design/how-to-apply-a-design-thinking-hcd-ux-or-any-creative-process-from-scratch-b8786efbf812

5) 5 myths around Design Thinking debunked

When you read so much about Design Thinking, there are a few obvious questions, or even myths, that tend to form. Read this LinkedIn article by Roli Agrawal about what Design Thinking is not, before you begin exploring further. Page link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-myths-design-thinking-roli-agrawal/

6) Person to know - David Kelley

Here is one from the horse's mouth. With David Kelley being one of the first leaders to evangelize the term Design Thinking for business problem solving, this article is a must read to understand where and why it all began, and who is the person behind it. Page link: https://www.fastcompany.com/1139331/ideos-david-kelley-design-thinking

7) Design Thinking comes of age - HBR

One of the key articles by HBR back in 2015 that put Design Thinking on the business map. Written by Jon Kolko, it briefly describes what are key benefits and challenges of this process, in a language that connects to the business world. Although, it is now over 3 years old, and contexts have changed, but reading this will still provide enough perspective to you about how DT sits in the complete ecosystem. Page link: https://hbr.org/2015/09/design-thinking-comes-of-age

8) Why Design Thinking works - by Jeanne Liedtka on HBR

I’ll explore a variety of human tendencies that get in the way of innovation and describe how design thinking’s tools and clear process steps help teams break free of them.

The best thing about this article is how Jeanne Liedtka first talks about the challenges in the (too structured Design Thinking) process from a designer's perspective, and why the same process actually helps a manager. She breaks down the complete process into its steps, and has explained with examples why each step works. Page link: https://hbr.org/2018/09/why-design-thinking-works

9) How Design Thinking has helped change the world - List of Success stories

Not a single article, this instead is a really well curated list of case studies, articles, interviews and websites, talking about the impact of Design Thinking across various industries or sectors. You can find really famous cases of Design Thinking in action, like Bank OF America “Keep The Change” program, GE Adventure Series, AirBnB or UberEats. In addition, this curated list also gives examples of cases where an element of the process has been used for gaining a business advantage, or for bringing about a behavioral shift. Page link: https://theaccidentaldesignthinker.com/2017/09/16/40-design-thinking-success-stories/ In fact, complete https://theaccidentaldesignthinker.com/ is a good website to explore.

10) Customised Design Thinking frameworks

Based on the specific needs of an industry or sector, industry thought leaders often come up with their own versions or models to suit their business needs. Here are two examples of such Design Thinking Models, customised to the needs of specific set of clients and type of work: IBM Design Thinking: https://www.ibm.com/design/thinking/page/framework


I know this is still a lot, but I hope as a start this list helps you declutter the information overload out there around Design Thinking. Do let me know your thoughts in comments below, and share this article to make everyone's life easier!!

Originally published on LinkedIn by Samina

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