Let's talk a bit about the key principles design thinking principles that make it stand out from other methodologies:

  • Empathetic It generates solutions based on an empathetic understanding of the people who'll be affected, as well as the context in which those people find themselves.
  • Methodical: It promotes a methodical approach to idea generation, rather than luck and inspiration.
  • Holistic: It's a big-picture methodology, focusing on the sweet spot where user goals, technical abilities, and business goals meet, rather than championing one at the expense of the others.
  • Iterative: It encourages an cyclical prototyping methodology and continual improvement.
  • Collaborative: It's a participatory, team-based practice that seeks input from multiple sources. (It's not about rockstars or gurus.)
  • Optimistic: It's based around fundamentally positive philosophy that assumes even seemingly impossible problems can be made better, and that even unusual ideas are worth considering.

If any of these six principles is missing from a design thinking process, there's a good chance that the overall initiative will be in jeopardy. It takes all of them working together to really generate remarkable results.