What is Design Thinking anyway?

Recently I became a full-time Design Thinker, which as it turns out, is way harder to explain, than a managing director of an advertising agency.

When in one day I was asked 5 times what design thinking means, I was happy to discover a new answer!

My usual short answer is “creative problem solving”. “OK, but why Design?” people would ask? “Is this like graphic design, or interior design or what?

I go on to explain that it’s using the approach of a designer and applying it to whatever you do, in business or education or just any ordinary life issue.

“But why Design?”

By the end of my first week of vacation I met many new people and I got lots of these questions.


In Design Thinking we love questions more than answers. Questions are the frame, the playground, where answers can grow into something innovative and new. So I had my chance to frame and reframe the definition problem. To zoom out and then focus again and again. By asking why we not only get to the essence of a problem but we also stimulate creative thinking.

So when I heard myself saying “ Design Thinking is about CREATING solutions rather than applying models.” It felt like something clicked and everything fell into place.

So basically in Design Thinking we observe, empathize, challenge assumptions, reframe problems and generate and combine ideas to create/DESIGN solutions. We do this in an
atmosphere of experimentation and with an open mind.

As a final thought I’d like to end with another definition I recently stumbled upon and loved:

“Genius is the ability to make the most mistakes in the shortest possible time.” From InGenius by Tina Seelig. A book I highly recommend even during a vacation!

Any questions? Please!