Design Thinking as a Phenomenon - Design Thinking as a Contemporary Phenomenon and as an Object of Discussion

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master's Degree Programme in International Design Business Management
Master's Degree Programme in International Design Business Management
Design thinking is fundamentally about how designers think and what tools and methods they use in their profession. During the past decade, design thinking has become a popular topic within design and especially business communities. Business leaders and managers have adapted design thinking as a part of their companies’ innovation process and the business community has given a new flavour to the term. Design thinking has become an exceedingly discussed phenomenon in business and design-related media. This thesis aims to study how design thinking is understood in different domains, why design thinking became a phenomenon and especially why it became so prominent within the business and management community. The objective is also to discover how and why design thinking became a fad. Furthermore the aim is to understand the possible affects of design thinking phenomenon to the design community and domain. A literature review was conducted for the thesis. The topic is based on instant history, therefore sources used are mainly online based: online business and design journal articles and blog posts. In addition to online sources, the literature review consists of books, journals and academia papers of fundamental key thought leaders for the purpose of this thesis. In addition, a handful of design and business professionals who deal with the term in their day-to-day profession were interviewed in order to support the research and to understand the variation of opinions regarding design thinking. It is discovered that design thinking became a contemporary phenomenon in the past decade and that it became a fad between 2008 and 2011. At least two separate discussion discourses are recognized, one in business domain and the other in design domain. It was found that the two discourses discuss and understand design thinking in different ways: the design discourse sees design thinking as a fundamental designer trait that mainly designers possess, when the business discourse understands design thinking more as tools and methods that can be adapted by anyone. Also, it is discovered that over time some of the key thought figures participating in the design thinking discussion change their original opinion on the value of design thinking. Furthermore, the principal conclusion is that design thinking phenomenon has enhanced the value of design for business and the general awareness of design profession. Business leaders and managers have given a great deal of attention to design tools and methods in order to create novel ideas and innovation within their companies. In addition, the visibility of design in media has increased the awareness of what design profession can hold in it and how design can enhance the value companies give to their customers with their products and services.
Korvenmaa, Pekka
Design Thinking, Design, Trend, Design in Business, Phenomenon, Business
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