Design Thinking Research

  • Christoph Meinel
  • Larry Leifer
Part of the Understanding Innovation book series (UNDINNO)


The path of design thinking is filled with various idea-fragments (Baya 1996; Meinel and Leifer 2011; Sonalkar 2012). One of the core challenges faced by design-thinking teams is to navigate through this sea of fragments, to keep all fragments in their sights while constantly testing alternative configurations in pursuit of a concept worth investing in. During each design thinking operation, we are certain to face challenges. One important finding in all design thinking research projects is that deep design thinking is a synthesis challenge more than it is an ideation challenge. The path is constantly being molded and re-shaped by events and findings. Several steps along the way are sure to be different than on any previous search. Way finding is an adventure that enthrals the design thinker and the researchers who observe closely. In time we face a moment in which a clear path forward unfolds. It is that point in the cycle where synthesis and divergent thinking, analysis and convergent thinking, and the nature of the problem all come together and resolution has been captured. In Design Thinking processes there is no solitary action or procedure that actually defines the process. There are as many different design processes as there are design thinkers.


Design Team Virtual Team Divergent Thinking Design Thinking Author Team 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hasso-Plattner-Institut (HPI), für Softwaresystemtechnik GmbHPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Stanford Center for Design ResearchStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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