In order to find the answer to a question concerning the operation and effectiveness of a Design Thinking process, it needs to be defined first. There are various methods to describe Design Thinking. These descriptions refer to stages of a process and what the results of these stages should be. To understand the Design Thinking term itself better, Hassi and Laakso (2011) conducted a deepened literature analysis concerning the use of DT in organisations. They observed that regardless of the description, Design Thinking is a concept consisting of three dimensions: Practice, Cognitive Approach, and Mindset.
- Human–centered approach – understanding the user; observation methods are important to understand a customer; co-operation with
the customer is necessary;
- Thinking by doing – iterative approach (repeatable, cyclic, based on many attempts and repeats); early and often prototyping is necessary
and favourable throughout the whole process;
- Visualizing – expressing yourself in other ways than words; perceived as necessary; this allows us to discover what we cannot see during
- Divergence–convergence approach – an expansion of scope followed by selection; Design Thinking is described as a process that broadens a point of view (by using creative and research method), and then narrowing thinking on key aspects (by using analytic methods);
- Collaborative work style – the use of a team consisting of many various people is important to solve complex problems.
COGNITIVE APPROACH contains:
- Abductive reasoning – the lack of need to prove that something works; by reasoning in this way, the designer moves from what already exists to what could exist, but is still non-existent; it is used when generating ideas; it plays a significant role in DT and is the initial condition of an “intelligent” design;
- Reflective reframing [of the problem] – ability to look at a problem in a new way; ability to look at a problem from the point of view different than the initial one;
- Holistic view – a view on the whole of an elaborated issue, i.e. customer’s needs, users environment, society, etc.; the view on functional, emotional,
social, and cultural needs; showing a problem as a system instead of a single event;
- Integrative thinking – consists of identification of relevant aspects;
placing two (or more) opposite ideas or models next to each other and not choosing one “against” the other, but instead combining various elements; instead of thesis and anti-thesis: synthesis; Design Thinking creates a balance between business, technical issues, and human factors, combines reliability and validity, as well as analytic thinking with intuitive thinking.
- Experimental and explorative mindset – consists of increasing frequency of experimenting and testing, taking risks, crossing boundaries, and asking questions; puts stress on low fear against making mistakes and failures;
- Tolerance for ambiguity – in DT it is believed that uncertainty is a natural part of a process; acceptance of uncertainty and making brave actions despite uncertainty is important for success;
- Optimism – not subjecting to limits; Design Thinking is a pleasure of solving problems and finding opportunities in places where others do not see them while remembering about various limits;
- Future–oriented – long-term thinking; forecasting new scenarios; thinking about “what could be if...”.