Design Thinking as a Strategy for Innovation

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a methodology. Nothing super complicated or fancy. Like many methodologies that exist, it’s just one of the ways to approach a given challenge. What distinguishes this as an approach is that it is solution-focused. This is an important distinction as design thinking is focused on future client/consumer. This approach is also evidence-backed and relies little on intuition. To understand this better, it is beneficial to understand abductive reasoning.

Source: Google images

Abductive reasoning

Deductive reasoning

Deductive reasoning is the simplest form of reasoning. Chris is a dog. All dogs can bark. Therefore, Chris can bark. In deductive reasoning, the conclusion is always true when the premises are true.

Inductive reasoning

Inductive reasoning weighs in our experiences. Every dog I’ve seen has a tail. Therefore, the next dog that I see will have a tail. As this example illustrates, inductive reasoning gives us a likelihood that the conclusion will be true. It tells us how weak or strong our conclusion is.

Abductive reasoning

Unlike the above two, abduction is the act of sense-making and the process of serendipity. When it rains, the grass gets wet. The grass is wet, so it may have rained… (this is a fallacy if taken as absolute and deductive). Abductive reasoning involves working out the best explanations given the circumstances, and given the experiences of the reasoner. It is an analogical process. Deductive reasoning can be measured by validity and soundness; inductive reasoning can be measured by strength/likelihood; abductive reasoning is unique because two different reasoners can abduce two different answers.

Design vs. Design Thinking

“It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
— Steve Jobs

Many people confuse design with design thinking. While there isn’t one definition of design, there is one for design thinking. Professor John Heskett, the former Dean, and Professor of design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design defines design as follows:
Source: Nielsen Norman Group

Design thinking in my work at The Wørkshop

Due to reasons of confidentiality, while I am not able to share my work in detail publicly, I will briefly describe the projects where I used this process.

How this ties into innovation

Source: Central Office of Design

Design thinking allows us to better define the problem statement and attain the single most important component of growth for most organizations in today’s economy: Innovation.



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Raghav Rmadya

Raghav Rmadya

Web3 | Security | Climate| Systems Design Engineering @ Brown-RISD