What is a result mindset

Design thinking is easy to explain

Design thinking is the way designers think. Those people who change an existing, unfavorable situation through their actions in such a way that it comes close to an ideal (see second sentence of the »6 sentences about design«). Therefore, successful entrepreneurs are likely to adopt this mindset too. Because this way of thinking is result-oriented and in no way applicable as a method, i.e. recipe-like.

(The difference is perhaps the definition of favorable or ideal. It could be that the short-sighted entrepreneur wants to favor his personal situation, while the designer has that of the user in focus. But even the designer at times strives for his ideal - the most beautiful Form - instead of the well-being of the user.)

In the everyday reality of the designer, this way of thinking - especially when viewed from the outside - sometimes appears chaotic and erratic. In retrospect, at the end of a project, it is easy to explain. That is also the problem, because now this way of thinking presents itself as a clear sequence of certain steps, just as a process. The non-practitioners of design thinking research sometimes misinterpret this. You document the steps, formalize them and the »method« that guarantees success is ready. That is a shame, because this way of thinking loses its effectiveness significantly.

How to teach a mindset

Of course, this way of thinking can be presented methodically. But it must be clear to everyone that this is a didactic trick to introduce the inquisitive mind to the way of thinking. That works very well, e.g. with the Design Thinking Crash Course from Ideo and the d.school, which we also present at the Design Thinking Academy. But it is important to reflect on what has been experienced and to be aware of the laboratory situation of such a workshop. The way of thinking can be explained well as a 4, 5, 6, 7 or multi-step process, as sequence A (research), B (sketching ideas), C (building models), D (testing with users), etc. In the In practice, this is often different: you start with a few sketches, then you recognize the need for research, sketch again, build a rough prototype, ask the user, sketch again, research again, create a 3D CAD model or a blueprint, and agree technology and organization, sketching again, etc. In design practice it is often C, A, B, D, A, C, A, ... or A, C, M, Q, R, B, D, A, ... - you sometimes use new, different procedures and methods, often only fragmentarily, with the aim of quickly finding the desired solution. It is a results-oriented and not a method-oriented approach. The focus is on the result, not the correct execution of a method. The observation shows that this is often misunderstood.


This can be seen from the misinterpretation of the term: design thinking is incorrectly translated as »design thinking« in the German-speaking world and this occasionally leads to a requirement for additional »design doing« - you want to add »design doing« to design thinking. It's a shame that the ignorant appear so confident. When properly translated, design thinking means “design thinking”. (So ​​you would have to write it in lower case.) It is a term in progressive form, you act »design thinking«, it just happens. "Ambidextrous Thinking" (the forerunner of design thinking in Stanford) is a fitting explanation for this. This meant "thinking with both hands", with all your senses, using both hemispheres of the brain. Concrete action and abstract thinking are both essential components of design thinking.

Design thinking is not a specific method, but a pattern of thought and action. It is a networking of fragments of knowledge recognized as relevant for a task, with the aim of finding a solution to the given problem quickly and directly. It is abductive closing.

Anyone can become a design thinker

Anyone can learn this way of thinking. To be able to use it effectively (with unconscious competence), one just has to practice it - like other skills. Designers practice it all the time, it's their everyday life. So if you want to save yourself the effort of practicing, you buy the expertise. However, so that the manager can better judge whether he has got what he wanted, he first familiarizes himself with the way of thinking. Managers just have to know the method, not necessarily know how to do it. The Design Thinking Academy offers seminars and workshops on this. The next on 10.1.2019, an introduction to the topic.

Also published on Medium.