Design thinking: a useful myth or essential tool?

Don Norman was an academic teaching in a department of cognitive science who did not think or call himself a designer. Today he (proudly) calls himself a designer. While he is an academic still, he is also a business person with an impact.

This is a repost because I’m moderating a round-table with a very similar title: “Design Thinking: an enigma or a success story?” Guest of the round-table will be: + Rok Stritar, PhD, Faculty of Economics; + Luka Stepan, Gigodesign; + Andraž Mihelin, ISSA; + Roman Kužnar, PhD, Razvojni center IKT.

I’m honoured to be in such a distinguished company. So join us on Wednesday, June 10th from 11:30 till 13:00 hours at the hotel Mons Four Points by Sheraton, Ljubljana. It’s free of charge to register for the round-table, that is part of the event organized by Spirit Slovenija.

Don Norman argued in 2010 that design thinking is a myth

Norman wrote in 2010 an article where he mostly argued that design thinking is a myth. In 2013 he presents a different view of design thinking. Let’s see what he says about pros and cons of design thinking?

Pros of design thinking by Dan Norman in 2013
  • Design thinking is an essential tool especially but not exclusively for designers.
  • Business people and others who are blindly solving problems could benefit from a good dose of design thinking.
  • There is something more in design thinking that just simply design methods. Deep understanding, ongoing experiments and a process of critique and questioning all significantly contribute to the systematic, practice-defining method of creative innovation.
Cons of design thinking by Dan Norman in 2010
  • Design thinking is something creative people in all fields—science and engineering, literature and art, music and history, law and medicine—have used to achieve breakthroughs but without claiming this special mode of thinking.
  • Design thinking is a public relations term for good old fashioned creative thinking that it’s not restricted to designers.
  • Design thinking and methods of design are used to position design in a unique way that is supposed to be applied to many problems: from organizational structure to supply chain management and from business models to customer satisfaction.

Don Norman. 2013. Rethinking Design Thinking.

Marko Savić
I’m exploring & researching the inter-dependence of the business model innovation with design thinking. You may wish to hire me as a Business Design Coach or Senior Lecturer in Design Management or as a Key-Note Speaker at your next event.