There’s an erosion of control of the corporate narrative. Today you cocreate your narrative with constituents. It wasn’t that people weren’t talking about companies before, but now they have platforms to share those opinions. Ikea is a good example, adding veggie meatballs to its menu to join the narrative on the connection between food, sustainability, and health.”
Author, Reset: Business and Society in the New Social Landscape
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Pentagram partner NATASHA JEN and Adobe principal
designer KHOI VINH discuss the virtues and pitfalls of “design thinking,”
a multistep creative problem-solving methodology that
focuses on the end user. First popularized by Ideo in the 1990s, design
thinking has since become ubiquitous in the business world.
The idea of an operational
process, without a philosophy or
values, without a specific stance on
how to look at the world, is highly
problematic because every
groundbreaking design has a philosophy behind it, good or bad.
Design thinking avoids the idea of
quality, of opinions, of an attitude
onto the world. To me, those things
are precisely what design is really
about. Without design philosophy,
products are just products, data just
data, algorithms just algorithms.
I think it creates a terrible
illusion. It’s the illusion that once you
deploy this operationalized
process, you can design. You can’t.
Talk to people! Do research!
We’ve been doing that for centuries
across design disciplines.
I’m certainly not at the top of
the list of defenders of design thinking as a foolproof way of solving
problems, but design thinking as
a practice has been successful
for companies that traditionally
don’t have design in their DNA.
I don’t see having a value system
and pursuing design thinking
as mutually exclusive. It’s a way of
organizing resources and time
and people, and making sure they’re
focused on the right things at
the right time.
Design thinking is quite constructive
because what you’re doing is taking
values from the act of understanding
what it is your users need. That’s
a powerful value a lot of companies
have not had and are not accustomed
to infusing into their processes.
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