Design thinking is a creative approach to innovation that uses tools and methods of designer’s as well as being based on addressing human needs to develop ideas, services and products.
Once something that was done intuitively by successful creative designers, design thinking has become a more formalised approach, adopted by leading organisations such as Apple, Google, Samsung and GE, and is taught at leading universities all over the world.
Design thinking has evolved from a variety of fields, including architecture, engineering and business, so it is not surprising that there are different versions of design thinking processes and models. However, what all the various processes have in common is that they are human-centred. The intention is to approach problem-solving by first understanding and empathising with the needs of those for whom the solution is to be developed. In this way more effective solutions can be developed. Another aspect of all the design thinking processes is the inclusions of methods that encourage divergent thinking, in order to allow for greater innovation.
The iconic design company IDEO has a large repository of freely available resources for those wishing to explore and apply design thinking methods.