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Why Design Thinking is nonsense

Who hasn't struggled with the question of what design thinking actually is and what it's supposed to be good for? The method is on everyone's lips, but hardly anyone seems to understand it properly.

In this post, I want to clear up why Design Thinking makes no sense and can be misleading.

Design Thinking is a method that is used especially in the creative industry. It is based on the principle of "empathy-centered design" and starts with people's needs.

The approach is supposedly simple: put yourself in your customer's shoes and design something that meets their needs. Sounds logical, right?

But what many don't consider: In reality, people's needs are often not so easy to determine.

Or even further: Often, people themselves don't know what they want - and can't know at all, because the offer doesn't even exist yet.

This is exactly where Design Thinking comes in: By trying to anticipate people's needs and then offering something tailored to them, a supposedly better solution is developed.

But this is exactly the problem: Design Thinking is often pure speculation. It is based on assumptions made by the workshop participants, which have often not been sufficiently validated.

At the same time, the "Design Thinking" method creates a pseudo-security in the problem space, which then takes its revenge later in the process.

The method works if you are lucky and actually develop something that happens to perfectly meet the user's needs or cleanly validates your assumptions in the problem space.

But since that is done too rarely (Why? More on that in the next post), in my observation Design Thinking often ends in dead ends.

What is your observation? Do you know of any examples where really successful new products or services were developed from Design Thinking?

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