- Designers bringing their methods into business - by either taking part themselves in business process, or training business people to use design methods.
- Designers achieving innovative outputs, for example: 'the iPod is a great example of design thinking', or 'hey, excellent design thinking dude!'
Design researchers like the term because it gives them an area to research. Designers like it because it conveys that somehow they have a few black arts that business people could learn from, or pay for. The press like it because it gives them something tangible to say that a designer brings into play when creating something, fixing the problem of the public thinking designers lounge around all day and knock out the odd doodle. Design thinking sounds like work, it sounds hard and it sounds important.
But is it the emperor's new clothes? We don't talk about architecture thinking, or art thinking, so why design thinking? And being actively engaged in research, I'm also very aware that the various methods that designers use, either tacit or explicit, or not unique to the young discipline. An enlightened business person will use brainstorming techniques just as well as a spreadsheet.
I think in the end that what matters is creative collaboration, where a multidisciplinary team shares the benefits of the skillsets, experience and attitudes.