Design Thinking Blog

listening in on the conversation

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butler3Overview of Article: This is an interview with David Butler that is a follows up on the Fast Company Article and Business Week article that have drawn so much attention.

Thoughts on this Article: I like the questions that are raised and David Butler’s honesty in his answers.  This is a great “rest of the story” to go with the original interviews.

Original Post and Comments HERE at Adaptive Path

by Henning Fischer

Photograph by Jake Chessum

Brandon Schauer and I (Henning Fischer) recently sat down with David Butler, VP of Design for the Coca-Cola Company and MX 2009 speaker. Here’s part 1 of “Designing on Purpose.”

[Henning Fischer] Could you tell us a little about yourself, your team, what you do for Coca-Cola and where you sit within the organization? Read the rest of this entry »

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Overview of Post: Robert Fabricant is leading a group of Social Innovators through steps of the Design Thinking process during a conference.

Thoughts on Post: Robert touches on one of the biggest challenges that Design Thinking faces when applied to the social/human application:  How do you create an effective rapid prototyping experience?  I look forward to reading his thoughts on this.

Original Post HERE at FastCompay

Live From PopTech: Bringing Design to Social Innovators

4017851409_ebcfbee24c_bBY Robert FabricantWed Oct 21, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Robert Fabricant will be reporting live this week from PopTech’s 2009 conference, America Reimagined.

Every year (at least for the last two) I have had the honor of serving as part of the core faculty of the PopTech Fellows Program. This means I’m involved in the planning stages for this five-day retreat. No matter how much time I spend preparing for the program, I’m always astounded when I finally meet the fellows. It’s difficult to comprehend the variety of innovations that this incredible group is driving, from virtual mobile phones and paper diagnostics to batteries made of common soil and building materials made of mushrooms. What’s even more astounding is the fact that the people driving these ideas are both incredibly special and shockingly ordinary.

My role is to introduce them to the design process–to provide some tools to help them think through and challenge the assumptions they’re making about their interventions. As always, I’m struck by how open-minded and creative these social innovators are (otherwise they would not have achieved anything close to the outcomes they’ve already seen). Creativity is not something they chose as an identity or practice–it’s a means, not an end. They many not spend a great deal of time talking about design, but research, prototyping, and abductive reasoning are at the heart of their work. Read the rest of this entry »


Parallel design process

Posted by @dTblog under Process
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titleOverview of Post: This is another resource in the rapid prototyping part of Design Thinking.

Thoughts on this Post: This a a good guide for practitioners who are learning how to put the concepts into action.

Original Post HERE at


Parallel design is a method where alternative designs, often interface designs, are created by two to four design groups at the same time. The aim is to assess the different ideas before settling on a single concept for continued development. The design groups work independently of each other, since the goal is to generate as much diversity as possible. Design groups should not discuss their designs with each other until after they have produced their draft design concepts and presented them in a design workshop. The final design may be one of the designs or a combination of designs, taking the best features from each. Read the rest of this entry »


Design Thinking Chart

Posted by @dTblog under Process
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Overview of Post: The at Stanford has a website for their k12 group that is focused on teaching design thinking to school aged kids.  This is a graphic from that site.

Thoughts on this Post: This graphic and yesterdays video are from the same source (d.School) and are both really good resources.

Original Post and other content HERE

Design thinking process


Understanding is the first phase of the design thinking process. During this phase, students immerse themselves in learning. They talk to experts and conduct research. The goal is to develop background knowledge through these experiences. They use their developing understandings as a springboard as they begin to address design challenges. Read the rest of this entry »


Design Thinking Process Bootcamp

Posted by @dTblog under Process, Videos
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Overview of Video: This is a video of an online learning experience that was offered at the McKay School of Education on the basics of the Design Thinking Process.  The leader for the project is facilitator from the at Stanford.

Thoughts on this Video:  This may be the best “short” look at what Design Thinking is and how to do it that I have come across.  If you can, find a way to participate in the activities that the facilitator leads.

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titleOverview of Article: The process of Rapid Prototyping is central to the effectiveness of Design Thinking, but can also be the one part of the process that people overlook.  This article gives a god look at the why and how of the process.

Thoughts on this Article:  If you can learn how to do this very well, you will have much better results with your design thinking efforts.

Original Post HERE at

Summary of Rapid Prototyping

In rapid prototyping interactive prototypes are developed which can be quickly replaced or changed in line with design feedback. This feedback may be derived from colleagues or users as they work with the prototype to accomplish set tasks.

This method is concerned with developing different proposed concepts through software or hardware prototypes, and evaluating them. In general the process is termed ‘rapid’ prototyping. The development of a simulation or prototype of the future system can be very helpful, allowing users to visualise the system and provide feedback on it. Thus it can be used to clarify user requirements options. Later on in the lifecycle, it can also be used to specify details of the user interface to be included in the future system.

Within software engineering circles the method is closely associated with user interface management systems and various design support tools. The latter tools offer the designer libraries of process and graphical interface elements for defining the software’s logical structure and ‘look-and-feel’. Here the title refers to an approach adopted by software developers in which the prototypes exhibit a higher fidelity with the end product than those created as part of other methods such as paper prototyping. Read the rest of this entry »

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Overview of Post: This post from the Innoversity Site looks at the highlights from a talk by George Kembel on the topic of using Design Thinking to innovate.
Thoughts on Post: Good notes from a rather long talk.  The notes are worth the read even if you don’t view the video.


A great talk by George Kembel of the Stanford D.School is available to watch online, so here are a few highlights from the talk that we find interesting here at Innoversity:

The is the means of connecting different faculties in Stanford University. Students work in teams on real challenges with engineers, business students, designers and other varied disciplines on campus. They learn the design thinking process which is usually this:

empathy > define > ideate > prototype > test

Teams are not given a defined problem, based on the belief that half of businesses fail not because they didn’t solve the problem, but because they solved the wrong problem. Read the rest of this entry »


power of collaboration

Posted by @dTblog under Process, Videos
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Overview of this Video: The Power of collaboration is explored as the Future of Fish team is interviewed.

Thoughts on this Video: The concept of collaboration across disciplines has been around for a while, and can be very effective.  The FOF team is using this approach as part of the overall Design Thinking process, which gives it more strength.

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Overview of Video: This is part of the Future of Fish series that gives an inside look at a non-product use of Design Thinking. In this video, the topic is about the team you assemble and what is important to consider in picking team members.

Thoughts on this Video: These guys are doing a very good job of documenting the process they are undertaking as they work to find a solution to the specific challenge they have taken on. I appreciate the desire to share HOW the process is working for them, and the quality of the information.

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Overview of Video: This is an interview with Nadja Schnetzler of the BrainStore…an idea design firm located in Switzerland

Thoughts on this video: This is a solid company that is using the ideas of Design Thinking to make better products and services.  This video gives several good looks at tools and techniques used by the team.