The Craze for Design Thinking: Roots, A Critique, and toward an Alternative
Favouring orientation to and the participation of design users in the design process, Design Thinking (DT) has a long lineage. With the Cold War’s end the Internet’s rise and Stanford University turn to teaching DT (2005), this ‘bottom up’, demand-driven conception of design gained new adherents, going on to win mainstream status when advocated in the Harvard Business Review in 2008. While some managers, especially in government, have since adopted DT rather uncritically, it has prompted a schism in design circles – one as grand, perhaps, as that between post-Modernism and Modernism back in the 1970s/1980s. Though DT has reached Latin America and Asia, enthusiasts differ on its meaning. However, critics like Verganti (Italy) and Norman (US) are unanimous that DT has wrongly made consumer contexts, behaviours and needs seem preferable to what McCullagh (UK) describes as ‘other drivers of innovation, including technical progress’. In DT, ‘sustainability’ tends to be taken for granted, and expensive prices are rarely considered. An alternative to DT is briefly outlined, which, it is hoped, can begin to address these defects.
Paper to the Fifth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, 2-4 February 2011. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to reproducePlease email email@example.com for permission to reproduce this article. Common Ground Publishing reatians the copyright of this article.
Citation : James Woudhuysen. (2011). The Craze for Design Thinking: Roots, A Critique, and toward an Alternative. Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal. 5 (6), pp. 235-248
ISSN : 1833-1874
Research Group : Design and New Product Development
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Design