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We’ve been working on make it pop for nearly two years now and one thing is for certain, it helps improves design thinking, or so we’ve said… But, in the grand scheme of things is design thinking just another buzzword? I mean, we could just say that it’s common sense…

All these design thinking buzzword s

When I started my professional career I had absolutely no idea what design thinking, ideation, creative confidence and whatever other buzzwords we use actually was. I practised these things but I didn’t realise there was a term/well-documented thought process behind what I was doing. I just presumed it was my creative method, and that I was unique. It was only when I started trying to advertise make it pop that I realised that there was a whole ecosystem dedicated to these topics.

…and since then I’ve seen my fair share of Instagram posts of people pointing at post-it notes, which to me, is equivalent of the duck pout.
It’s that basic!

UX design meeting in progress
We’ve all done it, even me 😅

But I digress, design thinking HAS become a buzzword, and corporate businesses are using the term as loosely and sloppily as they use the term ‘diversity’. You’ve seen it on corporate websites… “We support diversity! 50% of our workers are ethnic or women, join our cult” I’ve generalised it!

So… back on topic, is design thinking another buzzword?


Design thinking is a process of creating new and innovative ideas to solve problems. So, it’s kind of common sense you say? Kinda.

It’s how we use design thinking and what we do with it. If we spend tens of thousands on a design thinking expert to help you ‘create a new and innovative idea’ without having a company-wide brainstorm first, then yes, it’s a waste.

Discipline yourself, stop using buzzwords to appear smart and form your own opinions.

If that design thinking expert is helping you by facilitating a workshop and make sense of your ideas, then yes, it’s worth it. The answer is a grey area.

We should have a paper trail of messy evidence showing how we got from low-fidelity to fully fledged concept. However, playing devil’s advocate, your bosses bosses boss may not appreciate it when you’re presenting it to them. They may be more inclined to listen to how you got from A to B using the five-stages of design thinking. See what I mean when I say it’s a grey area!

I feel like we should identify when design thinking methodology should be used as opposed to common sense. This may lead into the wider topic of creative confidence and when to speak up which we have covered and will cover again in future posts.

So if you’re using the word design thinking to sell an idea, a service, a card game or anything of the sort, the yeah, it’s a buzzword. If you can find practical uses for design thinking or a way to encourage people to think outside the box in a safe group setting, then it isn’t.

I understand why people like Natasha Jen would think it’s bullsh*t but I also understand why Marvel swear by it.

What I do know is that buzzwords are annoying and we should speak as laymen as possible. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a use for them. So… Is design thinking a buzzword, kinda but then we as professionals have the responsibility to explain these terms in the most basic sense.

Design Thinking may be a buzzword but it's up to you to use it appropriately and with substance.

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