design thinking as an approach has been slowly evolving since the 1960’s
Design thinking origin story plus some of the people who made it all happen
Jo Szczepanska

I attended the Institute of Design, New Bauhaus.

Oddly enough, I see no mention of it — or even the old Bauhaus — here, which essentially began and then solidified the concept of User Centered and Human Centered Design, founded in 1937.

For example, even as recent as the late 1990s, they were one of the only, if not the only, programs offering a Bachelor’s in *Science* of Design.

In the 60s, Gyorgy Kepes did indeed have a series of books compiling design thought:

Education of Vision, Structure in Art and in Science, et al.

But prior to this, in 1944, Language of Vision

In this, he essentially creates a manual for how to become visually literate. But not only how to understand + appreciate what people like Lester Beall were doing in the Chicago Tribune amongst others, but how to essentially design for your audience via rapid prototyping and iteration as you work towards understanding the desires + goals.

So, no, design wasn’t “identified as a science in 1960”

Scanning this, I see few if any of the offshoots of this seminal institution. No Doblin, no Heskett… not even a mention of Don Norman? No real background to where IDEO actually came from and got their ideas from.

Just the bizarre idea that “design thinking” gained a foothold in the business world in 2002(!!!???). How about the idea that competent businesses had been utilizing design thinking for over half-century? Good design processes were a common tool for those who could afford it. Did it gain a foothold via simply becoming cheaper, with semi-aware designers doing the best they can at the scale they find themselves relevant to? Or are you asserting that these processes are commonly accepted, and user-centered design is more than someone with their “UX XD IA” abbreviations asserting that they “think about the audience.” (translation: some form of Google analytics… which, by the way, is the most bolstering of the current trend of “human-centered design.” In 2002 websites did not commonly have easy/accurate tools to track traffic, when analytics became the de facto standard, suddenly every website was a user-centered, market research driven venture to the point that entire industries formed around this obvious practice, that, again, any decent company was implementing since the 90s. Only difference, user-centered design actually had a requirement that you interacted with your users to find out what they really want. Now, the bare minimum is you browse your analytics data and make assertions while you balance “more traffic” with “more efficient architecture.” How many redesigns have yielded a better experience with less traffic/ad revenue due to reducing clicks?).

I don’t really understand the purpose of discussing this in such a populist frame. Are you simply stating “human centered design is popular now, but here is the timeline that got us from obscurity?”

Because that is really the only framework I can make sense of this in: there are always outliers and exceptions and a few of these specific points on this timeline stand out as not exactly indicative of the undercurrents / movements. Listing 3 design firms and 15 people out of a pool immensely larger as proof or example of movement is minimizing.

It makes for a pretty timeline, I suppose, but I think trying to establish this sort of pseudo-history only serves to undermine the concept that intelligent problem solving (capital d Design) via a marketing friendly package (check out this shareable article!) to encourage some sort of superficial knowledge of the history of a profession.

I assume the handwave / reasoning here is that it is at least “building awareness.”

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