I just got off Skypbay with Ralf Beukar, after an hour long conversation on the design thinking controversy, adding our global perspective to the US centric view we’re constantly being exposed to. btw, is it just me or have you noticed a perceptible drop in call quality after the announcement of eBay‘s purchase?
There were some interesting patterns developing that I could see, as our conversation built up into a dialogue of what design thinking really was, and whether it, as a concept should be called "design" + " thinking" anymore. How much of the value of the concept was being eroded by the debate on terminology and the use of the word design?
At one point, Ralf was tying together the commonalities between design thinking as he saw it, and it’s application on a far more macro scale of organizational behaviour. I could see how his approach of democratizing the heirarchical weaknesses of traditional organizational structure mapped on to Thomas Malone‘s talk on the Future of Work at the Accelerating Change 2005 conference.
What he pointed out was that the same way he and I and all the rest of us debating the concepts of design thinking and probably, far more effectively and rapidly, reaching consensus or at least poles of perspective, were essentially enacting the design process. We built a prototype and we’re critiquing it and tweaking it till we have something that works. The trouble with such a powerful yet simple message, that we cannot wait until every question has been answered before launching, is that it is the core of the designer’s approach and the terminology "design thinking" has been clouding the issue.
Calling it limnos, or chaos or prototyping is aligning it to the roots of origins of the thought leaders involved in the macro level discussion. That is, the management consultancy approach is "from chaos, order", while the design firm approach is from "rapid prototyping" and so on and so forth.
All these, however, still remain attempts to capture the essence of the eureka process, of innovation, if you will, in a comprehensible manner. Can we posit that even calling it the path to a "whole brain approach" makes it all the more required across the board in "The Creative Economy"?
And taking the sum total of these thoughts further, points to the emerging sense that perhaps Rafer’s articulation of a collaborative intelligence in our near future is a strong likelihood.
Finally, as the logical last step, I put forth the term Collaborative Intelligence to replace the term Design Thinking to represent the concept we all understand so well but are striving to explain with clarity.