Sunday, March 2, 2014

What's all the fuss about "Design Thinking"?

There is a lot of activity in the press these days about "Design Thinking". Some writers are dismissing it as just the latest hyperbolic business buzz.  If you do a web search on the phrase, what currently comes up at the top of Google's search is: Stanford Design Thinking - Learn Design Thinking and Innovation which is a link to the Stanford Center for Professional Development's page for the Stanford Design Group's Innovation Master's Series' course Design Thinking and the Art of Innovation.

In the last few months IDEO'S Dave and Tom Kelly have also published the latest in a series of books on design, called Creative Confidence - Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

Dave is a founder, chairman and managing partner of IDEO and heads the at Stanford. Obviously, there are some strong ties between Design Thinking, Kelley and Stanford.  Would it be fair to say that it all started there?

In this blog, among other things, I'd like to explore the history of Design Thinking and hopefully get to a simple explanation of what it is and does and how it works, at least in it's current incarnation.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I graduated from Stanford in 1981, with a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering, majoring in Product Design.  Dave Kelley received his Masters from Stanford's Joint Program in Design in 1977, teamed up with Dean Hovey to form Hovey-Kelly Design and also began teaching design at Stanford in 1978.

Dave Kelley Design merged with Matrix, ID Two, and Moggridge Associates to form IDEO in 1991. Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, aka the, was created in 2004.  So, it took nearly 40 years to get here.  A lot has happened along the way, but the story of what is now called "Design Thinking" goes back a lot farther - and we'll take that up in the next post; The Origins of Design Thinking.

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