I recently came across this article in the Harvard Business Review from 2009 (yay for content curation giving older things new life) about how design thinking won’t solve your innovation problem. This more recent article on Fast Company makes a similar assertion, so I think it merits a response.

These two authors rightly takes issue with “design thinking” as a buzzword, a magic bullet that equals innovation. It’s not. But why the vitriol?

Who is Design Thinking For?

Where the HBR article misses the mark is in the author’s presupposition that only those with a design background (in the author’s words, “turtleneck-wearing creatives”) can use design thinking. That’s the mindset we as creatives need to break. “Designer” is a role. “Design thinking” is a methodology for coming up with new ideas, and the author conflates the two. Creativity is hard work. As Stephen Gates has said, “Creativity is a blue-collar profession.” And we turtleneck-wearing creatives — by the nature of our day-to-day — are well-positioned to help others draw disparate connections between seemingly unrelated things, and to do it on purpose. …

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You can’t swing a cat GIF on LinkedIn today without hitting an article on body language and meetings. And for good reason. There is a pot of crypto right now for organizational psychologists telling people how to move and behave during meetings.

Learn the Presentation Techniques of Steve Jobs

How to Nail your Next Presentation

Read Body Language Like the FBI in your Next Meeting (srsly, this exists)

I wish the last one was made up. I honestly do. Could you imagine hawking every vendor meeting like you’re identifying candidates for extraordinary rendition? …

The Golden Rule, “treat others the way you want to be treated,” has made it from a dusty mountains-side in Galilee to the boardroom downtown. …


Drew Blom

Art director, illustrator, and senior manager of eLearning Design and Development

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