Design Thinking uses the practices of Human-Centered Design by keeping people at the center of the problem-solving process in order to create feasible and viable solutions within any industry.

Design, and more specifically design thinking, is used to solve human-centered problems that often involve a lot of different people, challenging circumstances, and/or challenging environments.

Human-centered thinking is not a replacement for analytical thinking or data-driven decision making, nor does it replace the exploration of human experiences. Instead it works with existing these to develop tangible and impactful solutions.

Is Design the look and feel of a physical product? 
Is Design the functionality of a new technology? 
Is Design the experience of a service we engage with? 
Is Design a new strategy for education, change-management, structuring organizations, or creating systemic change?

graphic of arrows simulating complex design problems created by Mary Van de Broeck from Noun Project
graphic symbolizing human centered design created by Silviu Ojog from Noun Project

What is divergent and convergent thinking?

Divergent Thinking: Going Wide
Divergent Thinking is a way of thinking that broadens horizons and opens up many new possibilities. 

Convergent Thinking: Narrowing In
Convergent Thinking is a way of thinking that focuses in on something.

Switching between divergent and convergent thinking is a common and powerful flow in design thinking. This is often called the “double diamond approach” (see below).

graphic depicting divergent and convergent thinking

What are wicked problems?

We often use design thinking to tackle wicked problems. Wicked problems are problems that don’t have a clear finished state. 

They are nuanced, complex, unique, and often exist at the intersection of many people with different priorities, abilities, and challenges.

What are modes of design?

  • Inspiration - Discovering Ideas
    Inspiration is about activating the right mindsets and utilizing tools to gather insights from an user-centric perspective.
  • Ideation - Strengthening Ideas
    Ideation is about utilizing insights, perspectives, and analysis that clarify the problem to be addressed and generate ideas as potential solutions.
  • Iteration - Making Ideas Real
    Iteration is about crafting feasible solutions to contextual challenges and testing design assumptions to ensure their effectiveness in solving the real problems for the user.

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photo collage of Design Thinking book covers
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