Design thinking as a meta language

Lim, Stanley and Hillner, Matthias (2018) Design thinking as a meta language. In: Proceedings of Cumulus - To get there: designing together, April 11-14, Paris, France.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Title: Design thinking as a meta language

If you do not deploy design thinking, you are working for yourself.” Neal Cross, Managing Director and Chief Innovation Officer of DBS Bank, at Singapore DesignWeek 2017. In his keynote speech at the Design Management Institute conference in London in 2015, Richard Buchanan, professor of design, management, and information systems at the Case Western Reserve University in the USA, distinguishes between design thinking as “a cognitive decision-making process” and design thinking as “a spirit that permeates a culture or an organization”. This paper examines design thinking in Singapore through investigating the way in which three of the country’s most critically acclaimed design firms, FITCH, IBM iX and Chemistry, have adopted and adapted design thinking principles in different contexts: retail design, systems design, and social design. The methods used here can be linked to the design thinking methodology as incepted by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, also referred to as d.School. The pragmatic characteristics of d.School’s design thinking process makes it easy to adopt. However, the key question which this paper will raise, is whether or not design thinking can unite a greater range of stakeholders in Singapore, given that the country’s Ministry of Communications and Information has elevated design as a key driver through the Design 2025 Master Plan which was issued in 2015. This initiative builds on the other definition of design thinking, the notion of a spirit. This paper discusses how expanding the collaborative attitudes within culture and society can potentially promote design thinking as a ‘spirit’ within a nation. Could design thinking be reframed to become a language-like concept that connects people and societies in their shared ambition to shape future lives? What are Singapore’s prospects with respect to this endeavour?

Subjects: Design
Divisions: Centre for Research in the Arts
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2021 13:05
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2021 13:05
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