A couple of days ago, I was looking for a visual illustration of Design Thinking to share with my colleagues and clients. Thousands of diagrams were found online within a second.
However, I was unable to find a single graphic that adequately revealed all essentials of the design thinking process.
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” — Tim Brown
The Limitations of Existing Models
The Design Council introduced the classic double diamond design process model with the diverge-converge pattern in 2005. However, “develop” and “deliver” have their own processes in a project life cycle, and should not be the essentials in the process of “design” and “thinking”.
Don Norman modified the model above in the 2013 edition of Design of Everyday Things, and summarized the process as finding the right problem and finding the right solution. It is a great high-level overview, but needs more details to show how it really works within each diamond.
Stanford University’s design thinking process has a good level of detail, but the diagram inaccurately appears to describe a waterfall process.T
he “Loop” model that IBM recently published highlights iterations, but misses the important process of divergent and convergent thinking.
A New Design Thinking Model
To capture the essentials of the design thinking process, I created an upgraded double diamond model. (My colleague, ICF creative designer, Trish Willard, suggested calling it the Smiley Face Model.)