Thoughts on Post: I agree that we are in need of some clarification and perhaps differentiation in the various worlds that Design Thinking is being used. Most of my experience has been that each area mentioned below is using the skills of Design Thinking to impact a specific problem or system. It can be a product, service, or position. The process of Design Thinking is not limited or defined by any one field..
Recently, there has been a flurry of activity around some new terms, Design thinking and Design leadership. I think they are interesting terms, and describe some new directions for design. Design thinking, suggests to me, that designers have a different way of thinking – visual, abductive etc, which means that they have relevance outside of the product sphere (meaning also services).
Design leadership means two things to me. One is to achieve a leading position in the market through the strategic use of design (Apple comes to mind here… again). The second is to use design thinking in your role as a leader – that is – using design qualities in your leadership role. These are both exciting terms and a useful development from the design management term that has been around for quite some time.
A couple of things have got me to write about this. Firstly, that energetic design thinker, Monica Hestad from Plan (link) sent me a link to a short review of books about design thinking, titled “A Design Thinker’s Reading List” (link). This just shows, how much people have been thinking about, well, design thinking.
The second thing is a series of discussions with my good friend and bright colleague, Judith Gloppen at AHO (link). She has introduced the term Service Design Leadership as part of her PhD in the AT-ONE project. She is researching these relatively new terms, and trying to untangle their definitions, histories and trajectories. But, more importantly, she is looking to see if these terms should have slightly (or very) different content when used within the world of services. We recognise that services are different from products, so then, is Service-design thinking different to design thinking? Is Service Design leadership different to Design leadership.
Judith has some nice thoughts about this, which she will be sharing with us at the First Nordic Service Design Conference at AHO in November (link). At the conference, we have put together a session that highlights these terms, and one other relatively new one – service-dominant logic. To me, a discussion of terms like these makes the conference really valuable. Not because I’m a pedantic academic (ok, maybe I am one of those too) but because I really think we are beginning to uncover some of the central elements that makes design different, and valuable in today’s innovation landscape. And that’s exciting.