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  • GK VanPatter

Has Design Thinking Turned into a Vapid Joke?


Two Stories Happy Reminder:


Greetings NextD Journal readers: For those recently joining the Design for Complexity Group on LinkedIn and might not know: A reminder that on the NextD Journal site you can find numerous peer review created posts documenting how the phenomenon of design thinking got so off track…Where did that off-trackness begin?.. and how/where did it play itself out to the point of where the phenomenon is now? Journalistically speaking we think of that as Story #1: The Off-Track Story.


NextD Journal identified and invited peer reviews of several high profile documents that played significant roles in the often highly spun Off-Track Story…a bumpy journalistic road to say the least.


Story #1: Off-Track Story:


Here are three examples:


NextD Journal: Peer Review Series: UNPACKING: “Design Thinking Comes of Age”


NextD Journal: Peer Review Series: UNPACKING: “How it Works: IBM Design Thinking”


NextD Journal: Peer Review Series: UNPACKING: "Design Thinking: Understanding the Process”


STORY #2: ReThinking Design Movement Story


In parallel to the Off-Track Story NextD Journal documented another, quite different story regarding need for acknowledging issues within current state design / design thinking and need for redesign of design / design thinking methods in the context of rising complexity and world changes. Included was acknowledgement of serious need for graduate design education change. In NextD Journal this acknowledgment of need for change began in 2005 and continued through to today 2023.


What began as a few voices, eventually grew into a larger chorus. What was not missed by this changedriving chorus is that there is need for change around design, not just design thinking! This was and is Story #2: The ReThinking Design Movement Story and certainly many materials related to this story can be found on the NextD Journal site. Here are some examples from Story #2:


Design for Complexity Movement


10 Secrets of Design Thinking


25 Change Avenues


What is CrossOver?


To be clear, these are two very different stories and it is the latter story, the ReThinking Design Movement Story that informs and underlies NextD Journal and the Design for Complexity Group today.


Good news is that while Story #1 tends to fizzle out from its own over-spun dysfunction, Story #2 has legs and is turning into a much larger, more widely accepted phenomenon as various parties come around to recognition of need for change. Story #2 is going to have, indeed already has, numerous new chapters so stay tuned!


Of course we all have the freedom to decide which stories best align with how we want to be in the world today.


Happy trails readers!





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