I've been more deeply into the topic of design thinking for several months now. One thing I have always wanted to do was to compare more traditional "business thinking" with the "design thinking" trend that is currently captivating the business world. Luckily, Luke Wroblewski has given this a try on his blogpost title "A Difference of Design".
I really like the table in which he opposes the "business approach" with the "design approach", though I don't think the world is as black and white, as Luke describes it.
I copied the table below (though the formatting didn't really want to follow my design wishes ;-)
|Business Approach||Design Approach|
|Problem Solving Approach||Definitive. Relies on equations for “proof”.||Iterative. Relies on a “build to think”
process dependent on trial and error.
|Validation through||What customers say: often a combination of qualitative
(focus groups) and quantitative (surveys) research.
|What customers do: often direct observation and
|Informed by||Market analysis and aggregate consumer behavior.||Direct consumer observation and abductive reasoning
(“what might be”).
|Completed||Completion of strategy phase marks the start of
product development phase.
|Never: continually evolving with customers.|
|Focused on||An understanding of the results
of customer activities.
|An understanding of customer activities.|
|Tools used to communicate strategic
|Spreadsheets and PowerPoint decks.||Prototypes, films, and scenarios.|
|Described through||Words (often open to interpretation).||Pictorial representations and direct experiences
|Team members||Vertical expertise and individual responsibilities.||“T-shaped” expertise: a principal vertical
skill and a horizontal set of secondary skills. Collaborative (team) responsibilities.
|Work patterns||Permanent jobs, on-going tasks, and fixed hours.||emporary projects with associated tasks and flexible
|Reward structure||Corporate recognition based on the bottom line.||Peer recognition based on the quality of solutions.|
I think this reflection on the difference between business thinking and design thinking is a good start to understand how strategy, business and management is shifting information age (numbers, facts & info dominate) towards the conceptual age (relationships and understanding dominates). I will come up with more indepth reflection when I have the opportunity to dig even deeper into this topic in the coming months.