Design Thinking

Great excerpt from Core77 on Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO on design thinking. As anyone in this industry knows, explaining what it is you do to MBA’s, traditional designers and your grandmother can be an excercise in frustration. Glad to see he’s tackled this subject.

In the Harvard Business Review, Tim Brown (finally) goes on record with what, exactly, Design Thinking is. Tim said that this piece was a long time coming, and with equal parts pragmatics and philosophy, it’s probably just what the doctor ordered. Here’s a sweet spot:

I argued earlier that design thinking can lead to innovation that goes beyond aesthetics, but that doesn’t mean that form and aesthetics are unimportant. Magazines like to publish photographs of the newest, coolest products for a reason: They are sexy and appeal to our emotions. Great design satisfies both our needs and our desires. Often the emotional connection to a product or an image is what engages us in the first place. Time and again we see successful products that were not necessarily the first to market but were the first to appeal to us emotionally and functionally. In other words, they do the job and we love them. The iPod was not the first MP3 player, but it was the first to be delightful. Target’s products appeal emotionally through design and functionally through price–simultaneously. This idea will grow ever more important in the future. As Daniel Pink writes in his book A Whole New Mind, “Abundance has satisfied, and even over-satisfied, the material needs of millions–boosting the significance of beauty and emotion and accelerating individuals’ search for meaning.” As more of our basic needs are met, we increasingly expect sophisticated experiences that are emotionally satisfying and meaningful. These experiences will not be simple products. They will be complex combinations of products, services, spaces, and information. They will be the ways we get educated, the ways we are entertained, the ways we stay healthy, the ways we share and communicate. Design thinking is a tool for imagining these experiences as well as giving them a desirable form.

3 responses to “Design Thinking

  1. great quote “These experiences will not be simple products. They will be complex combinations of products, services, spaces, and information. “

  2. Absolutely – I’m glad he made that distinction because far too many people think only of physical products when the word design pops up.

  3. See! Tim Brown references A Whole New Mind. I feel like I should be able to reference him in my presentation…. 🙂

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