A Design Thinker's Peronality Profile

Tim Brown writes about Design Thinking in the Harvard Business Review: "Contrary to popular opinion, you don't need weird shoes or a black turtleneck to be a design thinker. Not a re design thinkers necessary created only by design schools, even though most professionals have some kind of design training. My experience is that many people outside professional design have a natural aptitude for design thinking, which the right development and experiences can unlock. Here, as a starting point, are some of the characteristics to look for in design thinkers:"


Empathy: They can imagine the world from multiple perspectives - those of colleagues. clients, end users, and customers ( current and prospective). By taking a 'people first' approach, design thinkers can imagine solutions that are inherently desirable and meet explicit or latent needs. Great design thinkers observe the world in minute detail. They notice things that others do not and user their insights to inspire innovation.

Integrative Thinking: They do not only rely on analytical processes ( those that produce either/or choices) but also exhibit the ability to see all of the salient - and sometimes contradictory - aspects of a confounding problem and create novel solutions on existing alternatives.

Optimism: They assume that no matter how challenging the constraints of a given problem, at least one potential solution is better than existing alternatives.

Experimentalism: Significant innovations don't come from incremental tweaks. Design thinkers pose questions and explore constraints in creative ways that progress in entirely new directions.

Collaboration: The increasing complexity of products, services, and experiences has replaced the myth of the lone creative genius with the reality of the enthusiastic mutli-disciplinary collaborator. The best design thinkers don;t simply work alongside other disciplines; many of them have significant experience in more than one.

Image: Palov & Mishkin Think Twice Cover