What is Design Thinking?

The idea of design thinking becomes skewered when we allow ourselves to let the judgement of others affect us. Design thinking requires creative confidence in order to be successful in achieving our goals. Not only does design thinking involve a series of steps to solve the main problem, having the creative confidence and willingness to solve that problem will make the process much easier. There are a numerous amount of ways to practice design thinking. Two approaches in particular that help in the process of design thinking is the problem solving method and the creative approach method. Both methods would be affective in my current day to day life as well as for my aspiring career as digital designer in the future.

To begin the process of design thinking, an important attribute we all should acquire is creative confidence. Having this creative confidence allows us to become open minded to explore and expand the creative drive we all have. To those who truly believe their creativity is completely nonexistent, they must first understand and accept that everyone is creative, its just a matter of finding that spark of creativity within themselves and allowing it to be ignited. David Kelley, who is the founder of the design company IDEO as well as a Ted Talks speaker, discusses the topic of how to build creative confidence. Kelly speaks about how people are creating a divide of those who are creative or not and how this is far from what is true, “It would be really great if you didn’t let people divide the world into the creatives and the non-creatives, like it’s some God-given thing, and to have people realize that they’re naturally creative. And those natural people should let their ideas fly”(Kelly). Our whole world is functioning by the creativity of people, whether you are a doctor or an artist. In the Ted Talks video, Kelly speaks of the creator Doug Dietz. Dietz is an example of an individual who uses creativity in a field of work where one might not believe being creative is necessary. Dietz has a career in creating medical imaging equipment. A crisis emerged when he noticed a hospitals pediatric center had a high percentage of patients who needed to be sedated in order to go under the MRI machines. Dietz empathized with the patients and took the liberty to completely redesign that particular machine and room, transforming the MRI room into a pirate ship adventure. Because of this redesign, the percent of sedation of the pediatric patients decreased significantly.

There are a variety amount approaches of design thinking. Two of the approaches include the problem solving method and the creative approach method. The problem solving method is a solution based approach to solve problems. For this design thinking, this particular method would be helpful in solving ill-defined, or, wicked, problems. In the article, Introduction to Design Thinking, Greg Waloszek discusses the meaning of the terms wicked or ill-defined problems, “Wicked means that they are ill-defined or tricky. For ill-defined problems, both the problem and the solution are unknown at the outset of the problem-solving process (as opposed to “tame” or “well-defined” problems, where the problem is evident and the solution is possible with some technical knowledge)”. A creative approach to design thinking is a process of gathering as many ideas possible or thinking out side the box, during the early stages of the process. Rather than being critical on the quality of the ideas, a creative approach to design thinking allows a better opportunity to create more ideas. “Outside the box thinking (“wild ideas”) is encouraged in the earlier process stages, since this style of thinking is believed to lead to creative solutions that would not have emerged otherwise” (Waloszek 2). As a Design thinker, understanding the creative and problem solving approaches to designing is very useful.

As a current college student majoring in Interactive Digital Design, design thinking is essential in order for me to be successful in this field as well as for the future in any career I plan on having. In the article, Introduction to Design Thinking, One of the attributes of design thinking is Ambiguity which is, “Being comfortable when things are unclear or when you don’t know the answer” (Baeck & Gremett, 2011). Design thinking addresses the problem of being unclear of how to solve a tricky or wicked problem. I need to learn the attribute ambiguity in order to really understand and become a design thinker. When dealing with a “ill-defined” problem I have the tendency to get frustrated and give up. Gaining this attribute will help with the process of becoming a design thinker.

Ultimately, Design thinking is a methodology. There are a series of methods and processes in order to understand design thinking. The problem solving method and the creative method are two approaches of design thinking. For me, in order to successful be a design thinker I must gain the attribute of ambiguity. Since I wish to become a digital designer, design thinking is an essential attribute to gain. For design thinking, creative confidence is important to gain with anything in life and with any career one wishes to attain. Design thinking plays a role in all of our lives everyday. Once we understand how useful it can be, everyone will begin the practice of design thinking.



  1. I like how you explain the two approaches to design thinking and also how you relate this back to your major IDD, and how it will be helpful. I would definitely break your essay up into smaller sections because it is a lot to read in huge chunks and just add in some links!


  2. I also talked about the differences between just regular problem solving and a creative approach on my blog. I like how you tie it into what it means to be a design thinker and use creativity. It is not easy to always think of a creative solution to a problem but the best thing to do is at least try!


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