Definitions of design thinking

September 7, 2008

In my HBR article I gave a 'definition' of design thinking. It was:

Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.

On reflection this is a narrow description that focuses on design thinking's role within business. The next sentence that I wrote." thinking converts need into demand" , which I borrowed from Peter Drucker, broadens things out a bit but still assumes an economic motivation.

I am grappling with two questions as I think about this.

  1. Is there a general definition of design thinking?

  2. Is it useful to have one?