From team collaboration to product success - the domino effect of design thinking

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

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Paula, Danielly de; Dobrigkeit, Franziska; Cormican, Kathryn
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: National University of Ireland
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


Design thinking (DT) offers a potent way to create breakthrough products due to its ability to find unarticulated needs and solve problems. For a long time, design thinking was considered the creative activity whose aim was to determine aesthetic features of objects, however; many authors suggest that design thinking can provide significant value to product development and management. However, a critical issue of adopting design thinking in business organisations is that it is difficult to explain the contribution made by DT in the new product development(NPD)process. In practical terms, there is little guidance on how to correlate relevant product development dimensions (such as cost and time) to DT-related activities. This effort is complex because design thinking is only one of several factors that contribute to new product success. To uncover that gap, we aim to develop a framework that identifies the benefits of using design thinking for team collaboration regarding relevant product development process dimensions. Towards our aim, we conducted ten in-depth interviews with design thinking professionals from the Stanford University School of Design Thinking (D. School -Stanford) in the USA in order to identify dimensions that could be used to understand where design thinking adds value to the NPD process. We propose that understanding how design thinking contributes to the NPD process could offer managers the opportunity to uncover gaps in the strategy implemented. Additionally, the framework presented in this study could be used to compare different performance results when developing new products. Our contribution consists of offering the first conceptual model to map out the impact of using design thinking to promote team collaboration on relevant product performance dimensions. This research extends our knowledge of how to analyse the impact of team collaboration on firm’s performance. Our findings shed new light on the complexity of adopting design thinking as an innovation strategy in business organisations. This study can lead to valuable insights into how having a design thinking strategy can support competitive advantage in organisations.

Keywords: Design thinking, team collaboration, new product development, innovation


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