In Design Thinking, theory and practice are closely interconnected. The theory serves as a blueprint, guiding companies in general and design teams in particular through the design process. Given such a close interrelation of theory and practice, we argue that Design Thinking research needs to be set up in a particular way too. This setup ties in with Design Thinking process models: To attain ever more befitting design solutions, prototypes are supposed to be tested and refined. Correspondingly, Design Thinking research should help to test and refine theory elements of Design Thinking. Researchers may serve as “dialogue facilitators,” aiding the community of Design Thinkers to intensify their “dialogue” with empirical reality.
To provide reliable data on issues of central concern, we have tested experimentally two widely held convictions in the field of Design Thinking: (1) Multidisciplinary teams produce more innovate design solutions than monodisciplinary teams. (2) Teams trained in Design Thinking (by the D-School) produce more innovative solutions than untrained teams. In addition, degrees of communication problems were assessed. While both “multidisciplinarity” and “D-School training” have been associated with more unusual design solutions, with respect to utility a different picture emerged. Thus, hotspots have been identified that may stimulate some productive refinements of Design Thinking theory.
- Multidisciplinary Team
- Design Solution
- Design Team
- Communication Problem
- Axiomatic System
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