Design Thinking: A Multifaceted Paradigm

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“Design” and “Thinking” are two words as ordinary as words can be. But put together, the term design thinking has perhaps been interpreted in more ways than there are special clauses in the constitution of European Union! Often it seems that people tried to paint design thinking as it should be (the design thinking processes/methods), rather than trying to understand what it really is. Of all the definitions of design thinking I have seen so far, I personally find the following to be the most appropriate – ‘Design thinking stands for design-specific cognitive activities that designers apply during the process of designing’.

When one sees so much buzz about design thinking, one wonders – Why the term design thinking has become so popular, while corresponding terms from other disciplines, such as, accounting thinking, engineering thinking, music thinking, don’t even exist? Don Norman provides a good answer in his article, Rethinking Design Thinking:

“What we call design thinking is practiced in some form or other by all great thinkers, whether in literature or art, music or science, engineering or business. But the difference is that in design, there is an attempt to teach it as a systematic, practice-defining method of creative innovation. It is intended to be the normal way of proceeding, not the exception.”

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