Understanding the Basics of Design Thinking Will Change Your Life

Even if you’re not a designer

Jonathan E.
The Startup
Published in
8 min readApr 4, 2018


“Vintage steering wheel and dashboard in classic car with bushes in the background” by Esmee Holdijk on Unsplash

“The most secure source of new ideas that have true competitive advantage, and hence, higher margins, is customers’ unarticulated needs,” — Jeanne Liedtka

“I don’t know what you want from me!” I shouted at my boss as she set down her pen and stared at me. “I keep thinking this is the right direction to take, and you keep telling me I’m missing the mark, but you won’t say which mark I’m missing or how!”

Yes, my performance review was going well this year.

“What I want from you,” she replied, “is to do your job, so I don’t have to do it for you.”


Now for a little backstory…

My job, at the time of this particular story, was as the operations manager for a logistics unit within the US Air Force. I’ve had a number of jobs similar to this one in my career, but this was the one that taught me a couple of really important lessons and sort of got me looking for answers to questions that I ultimately resolved through a greater understanding of the principles of design-based thinking.