17 ///// THE DESIGN THINKING REVOLUTION
“I CALL MYSELF A DESIGNER, BUT I DON’T REALLY DESIGN A LOT. WHETHER OR NOT YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF ‘CREATIVE,’ YOU CAN THINK LIKE A DESIGNER AND SOLVE PROBLEMS.” - CHRISTINA JENKINS, TEACHER AT NEW YORK CITY’S ISCHOOL During the past two decades (or, some might argue, As Arne van Oosterom of the DesignThinkers Group longer), a revolution has taken hold in the business states, “Design Thinking is the glue that holds all and education communities that has helped creative disciplines together in a company.” He continues, people on all rungs of the corporate or societal ladder “Basically, it merges creative and business thinking: climb faster and easier. It is called Design Thinking. people who are linear thinkers and those who use – if you will – ‘chaotic’ thinking. Because, most of the In briefest possible terms, design thinking asserts time, ideas do start with chaos. But the two lines of that – much like our experts discussed in the thinking strengthen each other tremendously, previous chapter – anyone at a company can be and in the end combining them can be a very creative. And perhaps the most important people to natural process.” involve in the creative process are those who might not be traditionally included. For instance, bringing Detailed in numerous books, including recent tomes members of the finance or accounting team into like Jeanne Liedtka’s and Tim Ogilvie’s Designing a design session to bring different thinking and For Growth (Columbia University Press, 2011) and perspectives to the table, or being attentive to the Tim Brown’s Change By Design (HarperCollins, receptionist’s POV on customer expectations. 2009), the concept has taken hold worldwide. Listen closely because ideas and creative thinking are everywhere. Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, aka the “d.School,” is one of the leading
THE DESIGN THINKING REVOLUTION ///// 18
lights in the Design Thinking charge. Often cited for its innovative approach, the school is only open to Stanford students, and these students are put to work with real-world problems, advising major corporations. As stated in its web-based manifesto, “The Institute brings students and faculty from radically different backgrounds to develop innovative, humancentered solutions for real-world challenges. It draws on methods from engineering and design, and combines them with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences, and insights from the business world.” From a more pragmatic standpoint, empowering a creative team to work collaboratively across departments not only invites new perspectives, but also ensures a well-rounded view of how creative and business objectives align.
MICHAEL SCHAEFFER “Seven years ago when I started here, the apparel designers didn’t know the footwear designers and the departments were completely separate. But slowly they got moved together, and people started talking. This happened globally too, with different design centers talking to each other more often. It has helped so much.”