Design Thinking Myths Busted
June 13, 2019 | Design Thinking
by ExperiencePoint

Two creative millenial small business owners working on social media strategy brainstorming using adhesive notes in windowsMore and more people and organizations are beginning to discover the power of design thinking to innovate, problem-solve and create closer, more empathic relationships with customers and end users. But there are still plenty of myths out there about design thinking and how it works. The Enterprisers Project, a blog for CIOs about the future of business and IT, ran a piece on these myths recently, and we’ve also added some of our own.

Myth: Design Thinking is Only for Certain Functions

Anyone can use design thinking. No matter what facet of business you’re in, be it product design, marketing, sales, customer service and a whole host of others, the design thinking process can be applied to whatever complex business challenge you’re facing. ExperiencePoint would argue that design thinking should not be applied in isolation. Rather, design thinking should be employed across the organization so that all teams and business units embed it into their everyday, and it becomes apart of the organization's culture.

Myth: Design Thinking is For Innovating New Products

Yes, design thinking is ideal for innovating new products or services, but you can also use it for a myriad of other projects. A couple of possibilities: Use design thinking to reimagine your department’s (or company’s) legacy processes and procedures for the future; ideate, prototype and test new services for your customers; innovate new ways to compete with more aggressive startups; or brainstorm ways to make your existing products and services better based on customer feedback and insights.

Myth: Design Thinking Increases or Even Encourages Failure

Yes, there are points in the process where an idea or prototype may fall flat. But this isn’t failure, it is part of idea evolution. When you’re using design thinking to innovate a new product, for example, you can create an inexpensive and quick version in the prototyping phase to test. You’re not spending time (or money) on a full-featured version at this stage, so if there are problems you can solve them quickly and without too much disruption. That way, design thinking actually decreases the risk of failure when you roll out the final product.

Myth: Design Thinking is a Linear Process

The design thinking process has steps, or stages, but A does not always lead to B. What you learn in one phase may lead you back to the drawing board and round and round again. Why is this a good thing? Because you are continually iterating and making good ideas great, so that you reach the best possible outcomes.

Myth: Design Thinking Requires an “Innovation Lab”

You’re hearing about large companies dedicating space to innovation and collaboration labs more and more, and that’s great, but design thinking is not about creating something in a vacuum. It’s about the real world. The process can and should work anywhere and across your teams and functions.

Now that we’ve busted these common design thinking myths, we hope you get out there and use the process to tackle your next challenge.


Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale here or download our free ebook Kickstart Innovation: A Guide for Organizations.

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