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What Is Design Thinking, And Why Do You Need To Know About It?

Design thinking is rapidly emerging as one of the most talked about methodologies in the business world, with big brands – from Apple to Telsa – using it to enhance their user experience and their commercial success.

But what exactly is it, and why is it a skill that professionals today should look to harness?


 Keeping You in Tune with Your Customer

Both an ideology and a process, design thinking is primarily concerned with solving complex problems in a user centric, and often creative, way. It focuses on seeking to understand people’s needs and come up with constructive solutions to meet them. Taking a challenge or problem and drilling it down into smaller size pieces enables you to identify core issues and, from there, build a picture of the most critical aspects in order to devise an effective resolution.

In short, design thinking keeps you in tune with your customer, their problems and empowers you to create real, effective and creative solutions.









As Dr Stuart English, Programme Academic on our Design Management MA explains:

 “People, such as Herb Simon and Bruce Archer, started thinking about design as a thinking process back in the late 1960. It’s a theory which draws on a complexity of information, and gives you the tools you need to make new associations.”

The process has come back into focus over the past few years because of the development and rapid growth of digital. Modern day demands mean companies need to be innovative; for a business to stay current, they must move with the times. In a discussion chaired by Design Week, delegates explored these fundamental changes, with Anna Bateson of Guardian Media Group (former Director of Digital at Charlotte Tilbury) saying:

“Design has become a bigger word. You could argue that some years ago it was product based, around how it looked... Now it is manifested in so many different ways and part of so many different functions. Its remit has grown and is a much more fundamental part of how the business competes.”

Dr Stuart English agrees, explaining:

“Innovation is a direct byproduct of how we think about problems and situations, and adopting a design thinking way of approaching a situation is a perfect way to come up with new solutions. As businesses grow and evolve, and the market changes, design thinking is able to reimagine and reconsider the assets of an organisation in relation to the social and economic needs of the time. ”

“Not only is design thinking used by a plethora of companies to design tangible products, it’s now also used in strategic design as a board level tool. Tesla, for instance, have taken advanced technology and combined it with business viability and human desirability to reach a worldwide revenue of 21 billion US dollars. They are a great example of a company that’s put design thinking at the very heart of their business.”

Stuart English talking about design management, design thinking and more








Watch our video to learn more about design thinking from Dr Stuart English


Harnessing Design Thinking to Drive Growth

Northumbria School of Design has a long history of nurturing design talent that drives social change and economic growth. We have alumni in influential design positions globally – in national and multinational companies such as Apple (Sir Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President) while others have created highly successful businesses founded on design led innovation (Rob Law MBE, founder of Trunki).

Our Design Management MA aims to develop your knowledge of creative thinking concepts, research principles and contemporary influences and trends within design.

In particular, our Design Thinking module will introduce you to unique design thinking methods. Taught directly by academic staff with research specialisms in the area, you’ll learn to apply creative solutions to problems in order to create new opportunities.

As well as this, you’ll be able to enhance your understanding of different forms of intellectual property rights (including design rights, copyright, patents and trademarks) and put these rights in the context of an enterprise business model.

In fact, at every step, you’ll be supported to apply the new concepts and theories that you explore to your current industry, organisation or role, ensuring you develop effective, and relevant, ways of leading innovation from the off.

Find out more about our Design Management MA and our Design Thinking module.


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