Is Design Thinking Enough?

I thought this would be an interesting post on the antithesis of design thinking. This vimeo shows Don Norman talking about Design Thinking…and explaining how it doesn’t work

Here are some of his key messages:

  • None of the worlds major innovative leaps came from design thinking, the technology always came first with the need defined later
  • There is a gap between design research and business.. researchers want to produce reports and  business owners  want to know how to ship products
  • Human centered design includes ethnography, ideation, rapid prototyping and other fun activities designed to understand human needs…but they ignore marketing, cost of production, channels and other aspects of the business model that are needed to take a product to market
  • There is so little evidence that human centered design actually makes a difference when coming up with new products. Don recalls that Steve Jobs binned the entire user centred design department when he joined Apple … the result, better products  (skip to the 13.30 mark to hear this)
  • Design thinking is usually evaluated by the cleverness of the idea, or by winning design competitions…not by the sales results generated by the product
  • However… there is a place for design thinking in taking an innovative idea, and making it work. Instead of focusing on the radical innovation part, designers should be focusing on the incremental innovation that matches human needs to product design. It’s what makes products good
  • Design thinking is a form of design by committee… and for this reason it can never work for disruptive innovation… leave that to the inventors (they will explore just for the sake of it)

2 thoughts on “Is Design Thinking Enough?

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