design thinking myth

An increasing number of organizations have adopted design thinking in their business process and are repeating the benefits of the same. As IT leaders continue to seek innovation, the amount of misinformation has also increased immensely. For design thinking to persist, it is necessary to be clear about what design thinking is and what it isn’t. There are several myths about design thinking that have been floating around. In this blog, we’ll be debunking five myths about design thinking that IT leaders and business owners must keep in mind before implementing the human-centric methodology in their day-to-day activities. 

  1. Design Thinking is only for creating new products
  2. Design Thinking is a linear process
  3. Design Thinking is only for IT 
  4. Design Thinking requires an innovation lab 
  5. Design thinking increases the risk of failure

5 Design Thinking Myths 

Myth 1: Design Thinking is only for creating new products

This is one of the biggest design thinking myths. Design thinking methodology can be applied to processes, services, development strategies, project road mapping, and anywhere where there is a need to find an innovative solution. Design thinking is used in multiple levels and situations. Similar to how design thinking can be used to create new products, it can also solve complex problems in all other business areas. 

Assuming that design thinking is used only for product creation means that you miss out on the opportunity to rethink existing solutions. It is important to rethink and redesign our processes to gain maximum efficiency. Thus, using design thinking can help us solve problems in the economy, society, environment, and business. 

Myth 2: Design Thinking is a linear process

Design thinking has five main stages: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. Design thinking is not a linear process; there are no repeated stages involved in the process. However, there is a back and forth movement between the different stages. It is an iterative process wherein the individual returns to the previous stage and reworks certain steps in case changes are required. This process needs to be repeated until the desired goal or solution is achieved. 

Yes. There are steps or stages in the design thinking process. But Step A does not always lead to Step B, and you may have to keep going back and forth until the solution is achieved. It is thus more of an iterative approach than a linear process. 

design thinking

Myth 3: Design Thinking is only for IT 

Several individuals believe that design thinking is used only in the IT industry. However, this is not true at all! We have seen several examples of companies such as Adidas, Airbnb, and even history museums using design thinking for various purposes, such as developing an educational sector. No matter which industry or sector you are working in, be it sales, customer service, product development, product design, design thinking is a human-centric problem-solving process that can be applied to solve any business problem. 

Myth 4: Design Thinking requires an innovation lab 

Several larger organizations are creating innovation labs. However, these labs are not essential for design thinking. It is a human-centric approach that focuses on empathizing with customers needs and developing innovative solutions with their insights in mind. The process can work anywhere, as long as you keep your customers in mind. 

Myth 5: Design thinking increases the risk of failure

Since there are various stages in design thinking, they create a space for trial and error. You can test your idea in all these stages and understand whether any changes are required. Doing so allows you to ensure that your product or service has been tested before investing a ton of time and money. It also allows us to filter out any errors in the initial stages and lower the risk of failure when the final product or service is launched. So if anything, design thinking reduces your overall risk of failure. 

Closing thoughts

Have you come across any other myths and misconceptions about design thinking? Please leave them in the comments below, and let’s discuss! 

If you wish to learn more about design thinking, you can also enroll in the Stanford GSB Executive Education Design Thinking: From Insights to Viability program and transform your business and products. The course provides online mentored learning and live faculty interaction as well. 

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