Top 5 Changes In Design Thinking Over Time

The progression of design-thinking over time has manifested itself into various specialized fields that go beyond just design and creativity. The solutions created using the design process and systems thinking have had a much more significant impact than traditional operation methods. It has become almost like a subconscious where every project/problem they tackle can be solved using a design thinking approach. But what is design thinking?

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a non-linear and iterative process that attempts to understand the user, question assumptions, and rethink problems to suggest strategies and solutions that may not be immediately noticeable with the basic level of understanding. The design process allows for a user-centered and solution-based approach to solving real-life problems. It is a mindset and a way of thinking with a collection of hands-on techniques.

Design Thinking requires a deep understanding of the user the solution is being designed for. It is important to closely observe and develop empathy with the target user, which leads to the act of questioning: the problem, the assumptions, and the implications. The design thinking process can be divided into five primary phases: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. While these stages have remained constant, understanding the design process and its applications have evolved.

Evolution of the Design-thinking process?

The invention of fire could be considered the first solution led by a design-thinking approach. The problem was the absence of light, which was solved by observing and creating a spark by rubbing two stones. Of course, the ways to provide the exact solution have evolved, making it efficient, controlled, and accessible. Quite the same has happened with design thinking too. For many years design thinking was seen as threatening traditional and expert-based knowledge. Until service and design thinking practices were created, the mainstream believed it worked. When the tech giant I.B.M. launched its design thinking methodology and recruited 1,000 designers worldwide, it was made evident that design has become an integral element within companies and organizations. Since then, the value of designers worldwide has only boomed and continues to do so even now. Design thinking has evolved and changed only to become better and more helpful in several fields and specializations during this growth. Here are a few significant changes that took place:

1.Design-thinking in Tech

Global advancements has progressed highly since the industrial revolution. From the very first physical machine to now the Metaverse, the meaning and capability of technology have evolved. With new problems also came the need for more innovative solutions. As a result, the design thinking process also had to adapt and evolve with this change. The focus shifted from tangible machined products to efficient digital solutions. Tech needed to be accessible by the masses, even those not entirely familiar with it. Design thinking played an important to create solutions that made this happen.

2. Design-thinking in Strategy

Strategic thinking challenges the pattern of traditional problem-solving and helps open a space for new ideas to thrive. With complex problems came the need for a lot of thought-driven solutions. The positive impact of design thinking was evident, and it needed to be present in places that could help amplify this impact. Strategic designers in governments and businesses implement strategic design thinking to gain insights about the problem at hand, provide clarity, and identify potential solutions. Strategic designers see the 'big picture of systemic challenges and aim to solve problems that have a more significant impact.

3.Design-thinking for Social Innovation

Traditionally, designers have focused on improving the look and functionality of products. Recently, design tools are being used to tackle more complex problems, such as providing low-cost healthcare across the globe. Businesses were the early adopters of this new approach. Now nonprofits have started to use it too to create social impact. Most social organizations already intuitively use some aspects of design thinking, but most are hesitant to embrace the approach as a tool to move beyond traditional problem-solving. One of the biggest hindrances to adopting design thinking is simply the fear of failure. The opinion that there is nothing wrong with loss, as long as it happens early and provides learning, can be challenging to accept. Design thinking leads to hundreds of ideas that ultimately provide real-world solutions to create positive alternate outcomes for organizations and the people they cater to.

4.Design-thinking and open innovation

Designs are linked closely with intellectual property. A specific design solution developed by a company often stays proprietary to that organization itself. However, safeguarding design solutions for personal monetary is contrary to what design aims to achieve. The act of co-design and co-creation tries to break this barrier. This is where open innovation comes in, meaning that all design solutions are open source and free to be used in different contexts to solve problems. Co-creation refers to collaboration with other stakeholders to guide the design process. Collaborators with different roles align and present diverse insights, helping designers get more holistic views of what a product or service should include. Contrary to the standard design thinking process, this approach also tries to include the end-user in the design decision-making, resulting in more user-centered and community-driven solutions.

5.Design thinking in Business

Businesses are making fortunes by harnessing the value of design thinking into their process. The numbers are evidence of this change. Companies have realized that design can be used as an enabler to respond to changing trends and consumer behaviors. Fortune 500's like Apple, Disney, I.B.M., etc., have demonstrated the value of "design thinking" as a competitive advantage that drives growth. Businesses have realized that design innovation happens at the intersection of customer desirability, viability at the business level, and feasibility for technology. Design thinking that has been evolving since the 1950s integrates all three.

Business Design and Design Entrepreneurship

Next in this evolution is a complete integration of design thinking to grow existing businesses and build them from scratch. Successful businesses solve problems at a large scale, and design thinking helps create the solutions. It is a parallel process. A design entrepreneur is not your typical product or graphic designer. Designpreneurs see a business through the lens of design and focus on the user first instead of monetary gain. They leverage design thinking and human-centered principles to drive growth and achieve long-term business goals. Novel ideas have combined that address an unmet need while bringing value to a large addressable market.

Idea Execution Ecosystem at Collab Therapy

At CollabTherapy, we try to create this problem-solving culture through design-thinking that leads to creative entrepreneurship. We are a Co-design space & resource ecosystem for innovators to assist them in executing ideas through the design process. Consider our space like your walk-in design studio equipped with facilities; to help you take your designs from sketch to prototype and further. A one-stop idea-to-execution ecosystem, Collab Therapy brings you all resources at single-point access to Design, Develop, Prototype, Test, Fabricate and Seed your ideas!

Design in India for Make in India

With 'Make-in-India'' as the call for action, the process-based production line must take over the ever-prevalent 'Juggad' mindset to make Indian Designs globally accepted. For an aspiring designer/creator familiar with basic production techniques and already knows how to make the prototype, the Indian manufacturing setup makes it impossible to find a one-point resource ecosystem to produce a design idea through rapid prototyping and testing processes. The industry constitutes majorly of uneducated labor and fabrication houses that only cater to established businesses and large manufacturing orders. We aim to bridge this gap by creating a seamless direct link between the ideator and their execution needs.

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