Six Must-Read Books on Design Thinking
December 16, 2019 | Innovation
by ExperiencePoint

Our favorite books for your holiday reading.

The holidays are coming, which means you might finally have a little time to spend reading a good book. If your interests tend toward innovation and design thinking, this is the holiday book guide for you.

  1. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. If you are curious about the psychology behind design thinking, this book is a great place to start. Author Don Norman, former Director of the Institute for Cognitive Science at the University of California, has revised his classic bestseller, which explores the fundamental link between objects and users. The new edition provides additional examples and advice on how businesses can create products that embrace the needs of users by embracing the fundamental principles of design.

  2. Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda, and Alan Smith. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, this book offers a practical guide for creating compelling products and services that customers want to buy. The highlight of this book is the “Value Proposition Canvas,” which teaches readers how to design, test, create and manage their design projects.

  3. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change by Victor Papanek. Another revised classic from the design thinking world, Design for the Real World examines attempts by designers to “combat the tawdry, the unsafe, the frivolous, the useless product(s),” that clutter our world, and offers advice on how to replace them with sensible, responsibly designed solutions. At a time when there’s more plastic than fish in the ocean, this book is a must read.

  4. The Design Thinking Playbook: Mindful Digital Transformation of Teams, Products, Services, Businesses and Ecosystems by Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, Larry Leifer. If you are struggling with your digital transformation (and who isn’t), this book can help. It calls itself an “actionable guide to the future of business,” and offers tools and frameworks to kick off any digital transformation project. It can also be applied to any other (re)design project that is in need of an innovation boost.

  5. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown. You don’t need to be a designer to learn from this book. Authored by design thinking guru Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, it offers techniques and strategies for design that belong at every level of business. If you are a creative leader who wants to infuse design thinking across the business, this book will tell you how to do it. And if you aren’t a reader, no worries. It’s also offered as an audiobook.

  6. Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton. Visual learners will love Ellen Lupton’s latest book on how to bring great ideas to life. The award-winning author of Thinking with Type and How Posters Work, shares dozens of tips on how to use storytelling techniques to create satisfying graphics, products, services and experiences. The book promises to “help any designer amplify the narrative power of their work.”

Need more great reads on design thinking? Check out our list of innovation books from earlier this year.

Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale or download our free ebook Design Thinking 101.

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