Design Thinking Is Not A Safe Way To Be Creative

“If you think design thinking is a cookie-cutter, templatised way to “safely” be creative, think again.” Absolutely! This is a quote from my friend Sunil Malhotra. It’s a topic we’ve talked about extensively, and one that still gets talked about it.

A discussion followed on LinkedIn after his tweet:

design thinking not a cookie cutter template

Here’s my response:

Hello Sunil, just last week I was talking to a logistics org CEO about doing “client discovery”. The quote you used applies to my conversation with this person 😛

I rarely use the term DT, for me it’s just wanting to understand people’s lives + applying the scientific method to figure out a solution.

Call it whatever you want, it’s worked since the stone age. Still, people want a simple 1-2-3 step recipe that’s easy and will deliver as promised. But no process always works as promised; especially when it involves other humans.

DT, like lean startup, have become hyped terms. They’re both useful but people should approach them with low expectations, and instead learn to enjoy the process of understanding, problem solving and creation; just like when they were kids.

So when it comes to frameworks, templates, recipes; keep your expectations low. Template thinking by itself doesn’t lead to innovation. Think about design thinking and lean startups methodologies as guidelines rather than a set in stone process that delivers as promised.

What do you think?