No idea who told her this title would be smart. Maybe its more of a clickbait. Natasha Jens point, design thinking is waisting a lot of time and limiting ourself to a less good design result is understandable. In my opinion its only understandable from a single perspective.
Classic design is a discipline you can execute without dependencies except tools. Take your input, research the job, explore your possibilities and request critique — change. That was for a long time a process which worked for many designers. Until interaction design came along.
Interaction design is crafted and made by more than one designer. Tech companies learned, products get more excellent and polished by including everyone in a design thinking process. Interest and responsibility to create design is now distributed through a whole team instead of one graphic designer.
Design thinking is an excellent method distributing responsibility for design. Thats why these workshop are magical in the beginning or game changing milestones of a project. Teamwork, responsibility and results are provided by it (You need someone experienced enough crafting these workshops — otherwise your engineers get bored and grumpy). And even though the result isn’t that fancy as she pointed out for IBM Bluemix, it works. And we all know — fancy interfaces can be the wrong answer. Invest 5 day’s in a workshop and you have evidence why you invest your budget in this rather boring direction.
Natasha Jen is missing critique in this process and maybe pushing visual borders. Today, we have more designers than just visual designers. Because Design thinking is made for more than one “designer”, critique would be a bummer. Its a creativity killer. Design thinking workshops produce a lot of Ideas. In the end of the process we have a testing phase: critique from users.
For a long time we believed we are able to percept and imagine the factors and environment users have. And we can’t. Reality is the best critique we can ask for. And its the hardest one. We are less vulnerable to political design decisions because a usertest is neutral.
I believe design thinking is the revolution of design we need. With design thinking we are now able to invite everyone to the design process without loosing focus. We are all responsible for good design.
It became an awful buzzword, doesn’t make it less useful.