Design thinking for organizations: functional guidelines

DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th - 17th August 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Correia, Pedro Targo Ishio; Gaspar, Ricardo; Lins, Romulo
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Federal University of ABC
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


The objective of this paper is to propose functional guidelines for the assertive practice of the design thinking approach in organizational environments, and therefore to promote innovation. Considering the statement that contextual conditions directly influence innovation, a literature review is conducted in both design thinking and organizational structures bodies of knowledge in order to discover possible relationships between one another. A brief explanation about how designers make sense of things is presented in order to exploit connections between design thinking, creativity, and innovation, and after three specific organizational structures –formalization, hierarchy and functional differentiation –are analyzed, relationships between them and design thinking are established. Accordingly, three functional guidelines for organizations to exercise design thinking assertively are proposed: in terms of formalization, employees must be provided with clearly specified rules and procedures that encourage creative, exploratory, and risk friendly work and learning in a design conductive ecosystem so engagement, motivation and productivity can be increased; in terms of hierarchy, managerial responsibilities and roles must be designated so strategic decisions can be made quickly and co-creation can work; in terms of functional differentiation, integrative, human-centered, and collaborative work has to be contemplated with the existence of interdisciplinary teams for a rich mix of expertise and points of view so opportunities can be better seized.

Keywords: design thinking, product design, service design, organizational structures, innovation


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