How do you recognize what a design thinker is? One way is to not just look at what they think, but what they produce. This post from the Team Cognition blog offers some sober thoughts on the concept of design thinking and some fresh ideas on how to recognize someone who is engaged in such an activity.

Design in Teams

Since R. Martin and others hijacked the term ‘designthinking’, there is an ongoing dispute. Two thought worlds exist and possibly these can be united by laying bare the essential characteristics of a ‘design thinker’.

Thought worlds

Design thinking frames the verb ‘design’ as a specific cognitive activity in order to solve problems and is discerned from other ways of thinking such as decision making. The dispute on what design thinking is started when people understood that ‘design thinking’ is not strictly a designers thing, but also can be applied to e.g., management. According to me, a watershed can be discerned in literature.  First, there are publications which concern the expectations of organizations that collaborating with designers will result in new and exciting solutions, such as Brown’s Change by Design.  Brown defined ‘design thinking’ as using “the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically…

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Posted by Cameron D. Norman

I am a designer, psychologist, educator, and strategist focused on innovation in human systems. I'm curious about the world around me and use my role as Principal and President of Cense Ltd. as a means of channeling that curiosity into ideas, questions, and projects that contribute to a better world.