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“The concept of design thinking, while gaining much attention, remains somewhat controversial. There is disagreement over what it includes and how such thinking works, but increasing evidence that the subject is important and highly effective” (Diethelm, 2012, p.1).

Using appropriate examples, develop a critical discussion of Diethelm’s statement about the design thinking concept.

What is Design Thinking?

According to Diethelm  (2012), the concept of design thinking has although been able to gain extensive attention with respect to its use in the domain of the business, it is still quite controversial in nature and that there still exists ambiguity with respect to the components of the Design thinking procedure and how the process functions. However, the author does not deny it is losing its importance. The procedure of design thinking can be rightfully described as a practical method which needs to be used by the designers of the strategy during the procedure of designing. It can be described as a tool which assists in problem solving and even assists the firm in social contexts. The primary aim of the essay is to present a critical analysis of the aspects as stated in the statement in order to understand the concept of design thinking in a better manner.

Design thinking can be rightfully described as the method of creating creative solutions for the problems which are faced by the strategy designers in order to enable them to take the correct path towards success. Very often it also goes a long way in assisting the firm to ensure that through the concept of design thinking, the problems as being faced by the organizations can be solved easily.  According to Kimbell (2011), Design Thinking can be effectively described as the usage of an ideation and development which helps in thereby application of the creativity and unique components into the findings of solutions. The method of design thinking involves the usage of an iterative procedure which comprises of five different steps namely, the Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. 


The concept of Design thinking was first developed by Nobel Prize Laureate Herbert a Simon who mentioned this concept. As stated by Vicere and Fulmer (1997), design thinking can be steadily evolved by ensuring a creative strategy and applying it with creativity. Whether it is the field of education or the field of business, Design thinking goes a long way in assisting a firm to gain long term success in the given process. As stated by Liedkta and Ogilvie  (2011), the concept of design thinking has been developed with assistance from various disciplines and backgrounds and applies human centric ways to solve critical problem. Various organizations like that of Apple and Airbnb have made use of the concept of design thinking in order to enable a notable impact on their business.

Controversies Surrounding Design Thinking

According to Martin  (2009), there have been various controversies surrounding the Concept of Design thinking and various experts believe that the decade of Design Thinking has come to an end that instead of providing benefits to the organization, the concept of design thinking has now become obsolete and providing harm to the different decisions which are to be made with respect to the business enterprise. The primary issues considerably lies with the construction as well as the framing of the concept of Design Thinking itself and that earlier, the concept of design thinking had to offer the different business organizations a sense of process efficiency  and promised them to deliver creativity of the procedure of design thinking was applied extensively. According to Lockwood (2009), earlier, the organizations were able to use the concept of design thinking and use the packaged creativity within a particular process format and the strategic designers were successfully able to make use of the concept of design thinking in engagement, impact and the sales which took place around the globe.

The companies were believed to be comfortable in the particular aspect when they treated it as a process. However, with time and when the design thinking was being used by various companies, it resulted in failures for certain companies as well due to the unsafe aspect of it. The companies turned the procedure of Design Thinking into a linear method and began to follow it by the book which led to the deviation against the topic because design thinking was primarily based on creativity and not a book related methodology. The concept of design thinking needs to be used in the process format but since it is widely acceptable by the different companies using a book method, this has led to poor results for the organization and its related aspects. 


According to  Kimbell  (2012),   the procedure of design thinking needs to involve just creativity but it generally involves a system of conflicts, failures, emotions and looping circularity which can be essentially described as a part of the creative procedure but this is not the case and that certain organizations were able to understand this aspect but some were not. Hence, this led to the failure of the concept on a whole and the success rate for the entire procedure of design thinking dropped down considerably.

Although the concept of design thinking comprised of various flaws and it was a general controversy that the concept of design thinking was not good for the organization, the importance of design thinking in an organization cannot be undermined. According to Kimbell (2011), the concept of design thinking has made vast contributions to the field of strategy formulation and that the contributions as made to the field of design thinking and society are quite large in nature. Design thinking has enabled the different designers and the power of designing and fostering creativity was transferred to the space of systems and society.  The societies are faced by huge disruptions and there exists various barriers to successful business conduct which made Design thinking concept so crucial. Moreover, as stated by Diethelm et al. (2016), the Humanistic aspect of Design thinking also contributes to the success of it and that with the help of it there have been various new programs at various schools which taught the concept of Design thinking which would not have been possible, without the concept of Design Thinking. 

Importance of Design Thinking in Business


Additionally, as stated by Curedale (2018), the concept of business greatly involves the use of innovation and that the different strategic managers need to come up with the concept of sustainability and innovation which would then contribute towards the growth and the success of a business. Hence, in this regard, Design thinking has a crucial role to play and helps a firm to gain a competitive advantage. Moreover, it gives due importance to the use of the human skills as involved in the domain of a business. This means that the employee and human aspect of the business enterprise needs to apply the concept of design thinking in its daily functioning so as to ensure that they can come up with the best solutions. Moreover, as stated by Diethelm (2012), Design Thinking also involves making use of extensive resources in order to bring about success to a particular business.  It is for this reason, that it can be rightfully stated that although there are various controversies surrounding the business, the use of Design thinking is very crucial to the domain of a business. 

According to Brown (2009), the concept of design thinking cannot be undermined. Although the design thinking concept has been often held for controversies, it cannot be ignored that various multinational organizations make extensive use of Design thinking in their daily operations which assist them in improving their strategies as well as improving their operations. These companies include IBM, Apple, Airbnb and Infosys. IBM has laid down an in house innovation lab whereby the human resource of the organization sits together and chalk out various plans to create human centric solutions for the welfare of the organization and allots around 30 studios to encourage the foster of the given concept.

Even the Infosys organization makes extensive use of the Design thinking concept and procedure to optimize the employee problem solving skill sets and understand the opportunities for innovation.  The organization also runs workshops in order to improve client thinking as well. Moreover, as stated by Surgeons (2018), even organizations like Apple try to implement the systematic procedure of design thinking in order to come up with creative solutions.

Conclusion

Therefore, from the given analysis as done in the given essay it can be stated that although there have been various controversies surrounding the efficiency of design thinking as a concept and the usage of the design thinking procedure, the importance of design thinking is still prevalent. Design thinking assists an organization to make crucial decisions in an innovative manner and to see to it that the firms are able to evolve considerably and also be able to apply creative solutions to the problems. The essay outlined the different controversies surrounding design thinking and briefly discussed its importance in the domain of business. Moreover, the examples of certain companies have also been discussed like the IBM and Infosys which further contributes to building the case in support of Design thinking. 

References

Brown, T. (2009) Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. New York: Harper Collins.

Curedale, R. (2018). Design Thinking: Process & Methods Guide. Design Community College Incorporated.

Diethelm, J. (2012). An Essay on Meaning in Design Thinking, https://uoregon.academia.edu/JerryDiethelm 

Diethelm, J. (2012). Conceptual Blending and Integration in Design Thinking, https://uoregon.academia.edu/JerryDiethelm

Diethelm, J., Flannery, J. E., Giuliani, N. R., Flournoy, J. C., & Pfeifer, J. H. (2016). De-Colonizing Design Thinking. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 2(2), 166-172.

Kimbell, L. (2011). Rethinking design thinking: Part I. Design and Culture, 3(3), 285-306.

Kimbell, L. (2012). Rethinking design thinking: Part II. Design and Culture, 4(2), 129-148.

Liedkta, J. & Ogilvie, T. (2011) Designing for Growth: A design thinking tool kit for managers (available as a multi-user e-book via the library)

Lockwood, T. (Ed) (2009) Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value. New York: Allworth

Martin, R. (2009) The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the next competitive advantage. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

Surgeons. (2018). Five Big Organizations Winning With Design Thinking. Retrieved from https://www.digitalsurgeons.com/thoughts/design-thinking/5-big-organizations-that-win-with-design-thinking/

Vicere, A. A. & Fulmer, R. M. (1997) Leadership By Design, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

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