Design Thinking Blog

listening in on the conversation

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Overview of Article: There is a distinct skill called “Design” that is getting lost in all of the focus on Design Thinking.  As schools try to create multiple options for students, they are getting away from actually training the classical Designer.

Thoughts on this Article: I like Gadi and his insights. He is a hand’s on, real world designer that understands the demands that come with clients who expect quality.  This article reminds all of us that the whole Design Thinking movement is not simply the progression of Design, but rather the cousin of Design (I would say the brother of Design is the CAD). It is important that we do not diminish classical Design as we engage the growing world of Design Thinking, and that our schools find a clear way to distinguish between the nuances that are emerging.

Original article and discussion HERE at FASTCOMPANY.COM

American Design Schools Are a Mess, and Produce Weak Graduates

Famed designer Gadi Amit laments the lackluster quality of job applicants and their portfolios and wonders: Are design schools failing their students?

As head of a major Silicon Valley industrial design studio, I review hundreds or even thousands of portfolios every year. It is an essential part of my job as I look for the best people to join our growing team. Because the right mix of talent is so crucial to our success, I make it a principle to review every portfolio sent to us myself.

That commitment puts me in a bit of a tight spot, as I struggle to find the right way to say the right things to people whose high hopes I’m forced to dash. Despite the recent surge in interest in design careers, the quality of candidates’ portfolios seems to have stagnated or even diminished.

The problem has become increasingly acute. I’m eager to hire the next great class of designers, but to my dismay–and the dismay of many young hopefuls who’ve often spent many years and thousands of dollars preparing to enter the industry–I’m finding that the impressive academic credentials of most students don’t add up to the basic skills I require in a junior designer.

The quality of recent grads has stagnated or even diminished

Simply put, the design education system today is failing many aspiring young students. Read the rest of this entry »


Crash Course in Design Thinking

Posted by @dTblog under Videos
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Overview of Site: This is just as it says..

Thoughts on this Site: Great Idea.  And some really good creative leadership thoughts that are presented.

We’ve collected the thoughts of 30 of the world’s most inspired creative professionals. Architects, designers, authors and leaders of iconic brands.

We asked them two questions: “What single example of design inspires you most?” and “What problem should design solve next?” Their answers might surprise you. But hopefully, they’ll all inspire you. Discover what they have to say. Then share your thoughts. After all, this is a conversation. We’d love for you to join.

Thoughts on this site:

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logo_ap_180Overview: This is a “rant” of sorts from Adaptive Path and the struggle they are experiencing with hiring Design interns.

Thoughts: I like this!  The struggle that they outline highlights where Design Thinking originated in the overall Design process.  The make a fantastic point that students who go to design school to become Design Thinkers are not going to be good designers.

Original Post and comments HERE at Adaptive Path

by Dan

It’s that time of year when Adaptive Path wades through stacks of design school students’ resumes, looking for summer interns and potential hires. As I was doing this, a trend that that I had suspected became clear to me: quite a few design schools no longer teach design. Instead, they teach “design thinking” and expect that that will be enough.

Frankly, it isn’t.

I was taught that design has three components: thinking, making, and doing. (Doing is the synthesis, presentation, and evaluation of a design; the bridge between thinking and making.) If all design schools are teaching is the thinking, well, they are missing the other two thirds of the equation. They have abandoned craft for craze. Thinking without the making and doing is almost useless in the job market, unless you want to work at Accenture or some other big consulting firm. It probably won’t help you get a job as a designer in a studio environment. You’d be better off getting a degree in Humanities; at least you would be well-rounded. Read the rest of this entry »


Design Thinking + Doing

Posted by @dTblog under Uncategorized
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Overview of Article: This is more or less an interview with Alex Bogusky.

Thoughts on this Article: This reads a bit like a commercial for CPB, but offers some very good insights into what they are doing and why.

Original Post HERE at

CP+B product innovators John Winsor and Neil Riddell
CP+B product innovators John Winsor and Neil Riddell

“I’m a frustrated industrial designer,” says Alex Bogusky, one of the world’s best known advertising men. “I originally wanted to be a designer and my dad told me, ‘No, it’s too hard, you won’t be able to do it.’ So a little of this is a way for me to say to my dad, ‘Yeah? Really?’”

“This” refers to a burgeoning design discipline at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the agency known for its award-winning, culturally penetrative, category-charging brand campaigns. And while paternal comeuppance is doubtless a satisfying incidental perk, becoming the designer he always wanted to be is really just Bogusky’s next necessary step in making CPB the complete brand creativity factory. Read the rest of this entry »


Keep The “Design” in Design Thinking

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designOverview of Post: Kip Voytek offers his take on the connection between Design and Design Thinking,

Thoughts on this Post: Kip gives a very good argument on the down side of adopting the concept of Design Thinking without understanding the disciplines that are foundational to Design.

Original Post Here: Thinking about design thinking? Try thinking about design instead

Published by kipbot on September 24, 2009 12:44 am under design

I’m in the middle of several threads with friends, co-workers, former co-workers, and the voices in my head about what to do with the on-again off-again me-che (meme + cliche, pron me-SHAY) of design thinking. Having just read Designful Company with others, I felt that the book and the me-che of design thinking makes it far too easy to say we’re all deisgners, or that a couple articles will help us do design thinking. I can’t resist quoting Dr Malcolm in Jurassic Park:

I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility… for it.

So, I’m thinking, instead of thinking about design thinking, why not learn something about design? I’m not suggesting a career change, or even a massive effort to learn some new tools or software. Rather, read some books that help people understand the DNA, rhythm, and thought patterns of a design discipline. Dig deeper into a craft and see what makes it tick. Read the rest of this entry »


Stop Saving the World

Posted by @dTblog under Articles
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design-will-save-the-worldAuthor Mary Hanlon

Original Post at Social Alterations

Overview of Post: Mary is responding to an article by Michael Roller where he gave advice to young industrial designers on how NOT to act. This part of his post deals with the current trend to believe that “the way that designers think” is the solution to the worlds problems.

Thoughts on this Post: Good advice!  This is just another example of how the concept of Design Thinking is getting confused with the way that most designers think.  Design Thinking is, in reality, not how most designers think.  It is very specific to the Industrial Design field, where both analytical and design skills are interconnected – and still not the predominate approach even in that industry.  Otherwise – IDEO wouldn’t be anything special.  Sorry—ranting.  Anyway, the advice offered here is good.


…Unless you actually are. Designers have identified that their skills can help people beyond the mass markets of the first world, but we’re far from making a big impact on our own. The truth is, some designers like talking about making a difference more than they like actually doing it. Raising awareness is only a small first step towards fixing one of the world’s many problems. If you really want to make a difference, think about volunteering at a soup kitchen…or moving to India.

Ramsey Ford is an industrial designer who recently took on this challenge by moving to India and starting the non-profit Design Impact. “Last year, I attended the ‘Design for a Better World’ conference at RISD. What struck me most about the conference was that the common thread was not design, but entrepreneurship. The mantra for the weekend seemed to be, ’shut up and do it’.” Ramsey plans to make a real difference by gaining empathy for India’s true design needs. Admittedly, this is pretty bold, but what have you done lately to design a better future?

Rolland is merely advising recent graduates to, in a sense, shut-up and get-started already. In the context of ‘self-promotion’, selling your personal brand as ‘sustainable’ or ‘green’ (or whatever buzz word you happen to run with) is really nothing above insult if you are not in fact taking this challenge seriously.

Matthew E. May wrote “Design Thinking 101” earlier this month and cited the Wikipedia definition of the process (taken from a 1969 book by Herbert Simon called The Sciences of the Artificial):

Design thinking is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result. It is the essential ability to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and drive business success. Unlike analytical thinking, design thinking is a creative process based around the “building up” of ideas.

Perhaps the real challenge is for designers to stay away from Design Thinking as a brand image alone, and move creatively toward incorporating the process into every aspect of their work.


Tim Brown at MIT Sloan

Posted by @dTblog under Ideo
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Overview of this video: Tim Brown speaks at the MIT Sloan Innovative Leaders Series.  This is a broad talk about IDEO and how they have used the Design Thinking process to challenge standard methodologies, and create more appropriate and effective solutions.
Thoughts on this video: Worth watching and taking  a few notes on!