Unit 8, Entry 2: Design Thinking Failed

As I was perusing the Internet for additional thoughts on graphic design as a profession, I stumbled across an interesting article entitled Design Thinking Is a Failed Experiment. So What’s Next? In this article, the author states his belief that design thinking, while a good idea in some instances, has done more harm than good to the business and design communities alike, and that it is time to look ahead to the next big idea (which, in his mind, is called CQ, or Creative Intelligence).

I was curious to understand why, in the author’s mind, Design Thinking has done more harm than good and upon reading his rationale, I can see where he is going – and in some instances, I even agree. For example, he mentions that big business sought to implement Design Thinking as an efficiency process (much like Six Sigma) thinking that it would have deep “cultural and organizational change.” The problem is that by trying to strictly define and regulate Design Thinking, one of the most critical parts of this ideology is lost — the journey.

You see, Design Thinking is not merely a series of steps that when performed one after another, is guaranteed to create innovation and creativity. And this was precisely what the C-Level folks thought they could do. They figured that they could simply cut out the middle-man (the designers), and follow the steps to achieve their goals. In most cases, they have failed to understand that what Design Thinking truly means, is that designers (D-Level) should sit at the strategic sessions to facilitate this process.

So the author suggests that as a big company experiment, Design Thinking has failed. Instead, he suggests big company focus on their creative output. Making truly exceptional, creative products and services – and be willing to scrap the unsuccessful projects even if they are at the end of their development process. He explains that he would like to see Creativity take a bigger role in our decision making processes…an idea I can certainly agree with.

Another vocal proponent of a shift in focus on creativity is Sir. Ken Robinson, who explains that in his view, schools are instrumental in crippling creativity in a child.