A Fundamentally Simple Framework

Feb 26 2015 - 11:05pm

In the traditional Venn diagram of people (desirable), business (viable) and technical (feasible), design thinking solves the problem from the people perspective. – Tim Brown, 2007

It’s amazing how this still holds true eight years later, but as Bob Dylan put it in 1964, “…the times, they are a changin’.” As the landscape of innovation becomes more complex and fast-moving, we must ask ourselves one very simple question: What role does design play?

Businesses are started every single day by anyone with an idea, enough backers and internet access. Technology is becoming increasingly more accessible and wide-spread ($999 MakerBot, anyone?). And now, more than ever, true human values and needs are foundational in enabling meaningfully differentiated experiences. As our world continues to rapidly change, we have to challenge constantly the notion of the value designers provide in this complex eco-system.

Tim Brown is right on. But it is time to revisit this famous, yet often under-utilized framework, to spark a different type of dialogue around the role we as designers must play in the big, hairy, nebulous cloud of “innovation.”

—Stephen Wurth, IDSA
Midwest Design District Vice President