This book by Tim Brown of IDEO uses a wide range of examples and interesting  projects to give a real eye opener in the realm of design thinking. While I felt I understood design thinking this book made me realise I’d thoroughly underestimated it’s possible application.

Content

The first half of the book is a guide explaining the process of design thinking. The opening chapter revolves around what a design thinker is as well as pointing out how they differ from designers. This was a good start as I still was a little fuzzy on where the line is drawn. It also provides the basic construct, explaining the different features of a project likely to use design thinking. This serves as the foundation of the book which then goes on to to try and give true insight about the potential of design thinking,Tim Cooks IDEO credentials serve a great role here as pretty much every major point is backed up by an interesting case study. The book also gives a lot of advice about the challenges that are likely to occur, this section focuses more on bringing awareness to these issues rather than posing direct solutions as Cook takes care to point out that each company is different and their management of these challenges will be different.

Writing Style

The style is very easy to read, the argument for design thinking flows easily and Cook avoids deep exploration of any one topic, preferring to give overviews on a wide range of different subjects. This serves to keep the book moving quickly, at no point did I find myself bogged down in any one topic. The use of relevant and interesting examples throughout the book really brings the book to life though, each example quickly condenses the point being made into a scenario that can be understood and helps convince the reader of it’s validity. My only issue with the book was reading it as the converted, the first half set out the process of design thinking, while I was familiar it really worked to bring words to my nebulous understanding of the concept, the second half then spent a great deal of time validating the process, this is not a surprise and it was still enjoyable but at times some points felt that they were repeating.

Recommendations

Tricky, this book is not strictly for designers, while it does a good job of selling design thinking it does not really benefit a lone designer, that is as long as the designer respects the need for human centered design. This book is far more for those in a managerial role, both from design and industry, it pushes the importance of an institutional inclusion of design thinking. For industry this means selling the concept to them and forewarning them of the challenges they will undoubtedly encounter. For designer mangers this book provides a really good overview of what design thinking is in a way that can be easily explained to others, it also pushes the human centered approach that is essential for this process which I think some designers may benefit from.

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