Where did design thinking originate? More importantly, where is it headed? In this Long Read, we take a close look at the evolution of design thinking from a niche activity to a large-scale practice.
How Design Thinking Has Evolved
There’s no documented history of design thinking. Despite the contributions of designers and creators over the years, there was, as such, no specific beginning – it’s always been an intrinsic part of human thought.
The term refers to techniques used to create/represent the abstract, though the scope of this definition has widened over time. The system of analysis and synthesis, computer renderings, sketches, and models made in workshops was always about the conceptualization of abstract ideas — only recently have they been labeled as ‘design thinking’.
At the very beginning
Moore’s Law of Technology Adoption illustrates how initial ideas are primarily dispersed by early adopters. Rather than slow adoption of any particular idea, the law details how this incremental, pre-implementation process can be skipped entirely when an individual proves its success to a massive audience.
The original spread of design thinking, in fact, began with the development of design practices. The first organizations to prioritize service design and design thinking quickly gained many benefits. At this point, society began to assign value to services, as well as products.
The increasing popularity of sustainable services and design thinking practices successfully convinced stakeholders that these techniques deserved serious consideration. By the end of 2015, major tech service providers, like IBM, developed their own design thinking methodologies – recruiting a large number of designers across geographies and business units.
By this time, design thinking had been widely adopted and implemented by all major organizations worldwide.
Design Thinking as Strategy for Innovation
Technology is the most prominent sector where design thinking finds application – it plays a huge part in our day-to-day lives and…