Design Thinking’s Convergence Diversion

Peter Jones Design for Care, Design for Practice, Transformation Design

(Updated from 2010) We now tend to think of design thinking as embracing all that represents “new design.”  Yet there remains more value in some of the original views of design thinking from decades ago than in most of what’s presented today. Design thinking is often treated as a process for moving an idea from ideation through prototyping to a concept test or an early alpha design. Or we mean it to represent the creative process associated with the structural mechanics of a generic design process – identify user needs by empathy and observation, iterate a promising prototype, add visual design and some marketing and voila. Let’s go back 30 years. The 4 orders of abstraction Buchanan (1992) describes in Wicked Problems in Design Thinking are usually left untapped in design thinking discussions. Buchanan lists: Symbolic and visual communications Material objects Activities and organized services Complex systems or environments for living, working, playing and learning Another 4-phase description of design thinking is GK van Patter’s Design 1.0 – 4.0 as described in numerous NextD articles and presentations. The four phases …