Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools (ACUADS)


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communication and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




This article was originally published as: Price, A. J. (2013). The Dangers in design thinking. In ACUADS Conference 2012: Region and Isolation: The changing function of art & design education within diasporic cultures and borderless communities. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools (ACUADS). Original article available here


Over the past few years there has been an increased use of the term Design Thinking (DT). Organisations such as The NextDesign Leadership Institute and its related design consultancy, Humantific have been using the term in various projects such as the ‘Design Thinking Made Visible’ project (Humantific, 2011). The term Design Thinking gained popularity after the Stanford University Engineering School ran a course on it in 2005 (Christoph, Leifer & Plattner, 2011). Many of the processes used by designers adopting this approach seem to come from non-design disciplines. Much of what has been taught in management schools for many years is used in DT, for example card sorts (clustering); creative thinking; and formal brainstorming (Hogan, 1999). DT has been a significant topic in the management field (Woudhuysen 2011). Another system that has been used successfully in industry, especially in the construction field, is Value Management or Value Analysis (NSW Treasury, 2004). Looking at the Value Management/Analysis process it is possible to draw parallels with many versions of DT: they all employ a collaborative group approach. This paper looks at some of the difficulties inherent in teaching and applying DT and discusses an approach taken in a new unit in collaborative design. It proposes that collaboration is a skill that can be developed. It also details some of the pitfalls such as the problem of identifying what designers bring to the practice that other consultants do not.

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Creative Commons License
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