We debunked some common design thinking misconceptions.

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving approach that is incredibly popular for many reasons, including its focus on human-centered innovation and ideating through prototyping and testing. Despite its growing popularity, there are still many misconceptions and misunderstandings about design thinking. In this blog post, we will share 20 things that most people don’t know about design thinking.

Misconception: Design thinking is for designers

While design thinking originated in the field of design, it has since been adapted and applied to a wide range of industries and disciplines. We have worked with companies, non-profits, and individuals from all walks of life and fields of study who benefited from design thinking methodology. This includes healthcare, education, marketing, and so much more!

Misconception: Design thinking is the end-result, or product

Design thinking is a process, not a product. Design thinking is a problem-solving process that involves empathy, ideation, prototyping, and testing. It can be used to solve a problem or make a product or service better, but it is not of itself a result.

Misconception: Only startups need design thinking

Design thinking is not just for startups! The process can be used by companies of all sizes and across all industries. You can use the methodology to improve organizations that have existed for 100 years or 1!

Misconception: Design thinking just focuses on ideas, not practical application

Design thinking involves iterative prototyping where you take your ideas and turn them into practical applications that can be explored and understood in the real world. During the process, you’ll create multiple prototypes and test the with users in order to refine and improve the final solution.

Misconception: Design thinking is only for product improvement

Design thinking can be used for both products and services. This methodology can be applied to the development of both physical products as well as intangible services or other problem areas.

Misconception: Design thinking is about the organization’s needs and ideas

At its heart, design thinking is actually human-centered. This means the focus is on understanding and empathizing with the needs of users in order to create solutions that meet those needs, instead of working off of what the organization thinks they need.

Misconception: Design thinking is a one-person activity

Design thinking requires collaboration. Working in teams with diverse backgrounds and perspectives can help generate creative solutions.

Misconception: Only businesses can use design thinking

Design thinking can also be used for social innovation. The process has been used to develop innovative solutions to social challenges and promote positive social change.

Misconception: Design thinking is about aesthetics

Design thinking is not just about aesthetics. While design thinking does consider aesthetics, its primary focus is on creating solutions that meet user needs and solve problems.

Misconception: Design thinking has very specific guidelines

Design thinking is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The process is flexible and adaptable to different contexts and challenges.

Misconception: You can only use design thinking during brainstorming

Design thinking can be used at any stage of the innovation process. Design thinking can be used to generate new ideas, refine existing ideas, and develop prototypes.

Misconception: Design thinking doesn’t help reduce failure

Design thinking can help reduce risk. Since design thinking involves testing and validating ideas with users, you can overall reduce the risk of failure.

Misconception: Design thinking doesn’t influence the work culture

Design thinking can help foster innovation culture. Design thinking encourages creativity and risk-taking, which can help create a culture of innovation within an organization.

Misconception: There are no other organizational benefits of using design thinking

Design thinking can also help create competitive advantage. Organizations who create unique and innovative solutions differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Misconception: Only simple problems can be solved by design thinking

Design thinking can be used to solve complex problems. Complex and systemic problems can be tackled by design thinking in ways that traditional problem-solving methods may not be able to address.

Misconception: Design thinking isn’t inclusive

Design thinking can be used to create inclusive solutions. Design thinking involves understanding the needs of diverse users and can help create solutions that are more inclusive and accessible.

Misconception: The customer experience remains the same with design thinking

Design thinking can help improve customer experience. By understanding user needs and designing solutions around those needs, design thinking can help improve the customer experience.

Misconception: Employees won’t benefit from design thinking

Design thinking can be used to foster employee engagement. By involving employees in the design thinking process, organizations can foster engagement and ownership in the innovation process.

Misconception: Organizations who use design thinking are no better off than those who do not

Design thinking can help organizations stay relevant. Design thinking can help organizations stay up-to-date with changing customer needs and market trends.

Misconception: Design thinking is an inherent talent or traits people possess

Design thinking can be learned and taught. While some people may think that design thinking is a talent that you are born with, it is actually a skill that can be learned and taught through training and practice.

Learn More about Design Thinking with Workshops or Training Sessions

By understanding the nuances and complexities of design thinking, we can unlock its full potential and use it to create innovative solutions that truly meet the needs of users. Whether you are a designer, a business leader, or someone who is simply interested in problem-solving, there is much to learn from design thinking.

Learn even more about design thinking in our frequently asked questions about design thinking blog post, then contact us if you are interested in a custom design thinking training session.