Book Review: Design Thinking

    By: Teresa Jurgens-Kowal, PhD, NPDP on Jun 14, 2016

    final.pngBook Review: ‘Design Thinking’

    Teresa Jurgens-Kowal, PhD, NPDP

    “Design Thinking,” edited by Michael G. Luchs, K. Scott Swan, and Abbie Griffin.  
    Wiley:  Hoboken, NJ (2016).  411 + xvii pages.  US$55.

    In product development, design thinking is an emerging trend to enhance the customer experience with products.  It increases engagement of the entire product development team with the end-user throughout the development effort.  As a part of the Product Development and Management Association’s (PDMA) series on new product development essentials, PDMA has recently released a reference book on this concept.

    “Design Thinking” is a very dense book with lots of information and is not created for a quick read from cover to cover.  Readers will find the book useful as a reference tool and should feel welcome to jump to the applicable section or chapter that addresses their current challenges.

    The editors define design thinking as “a systematic and collaborative approach to identifying and creatively solving problems” (p. 1-2).  Naturally, this definition appeals to product developers and project managers as we seek unique solutions to customer problems that will add value to the bottom line.

    Part I of “Design Thinking” introduces design thinking tools.  These tools include a design brief, personas and customer experience maps.  Personas, described in detail in Chapter 3, help the product development team empathize with a composite “real” customer. 

    In Part II, design thinking within the firm is introduced to help companies and managers align roles and responsibilities.  Chapter 10, for example, highlights the necessary training for non-designers to implement design thinking.  Another focus of Part II is on how to implement the paradigm shift that design thinking brings to a firm.  Chapters 12 and 14, for example, discuss leadership initiatives and embedding key personnel into the organization.  Management support for design thinking is a must for the success of the program.

    Part III of the book recommends specific applications for the methodology.  Chapter 16 describes how user stories can identify new service opportunities, while Chapter 18 links business model innovation with design thinking.  By expanding design thinking to the business model itself, a firm can enhance its competitive advantage.

    Consumer responses and values are the dedicated topic of Part IV.  Here, researchers discuss consumer responses to form and function (Chapter 20).  Product form influences the consumer’s evaluation of the product, but its design must still represent its function for the customer to understand and engage with the product.

    Finally, “Design Thinking” closes with special topics in a three-chapter collection in Part V.  Chapter 24 is particularly interesting as it addresses intellectual property concerns, including a comprehensive overview of patents, types of patents and other intellectual property components (copyrights and trademarks).  This chapter is a must-read for all product developers.

    Overall, the text is informational for those new to the concept of design thinking and offers detailed tools and applications for those that who are more experienced in the methodology.  If you work in new product development, you will want this book on your desktop for ready reference.  It also leaves us looking forward to the next book in the series!

    Released: June 14, 2016, 7:55 am | Updated: June 16, 2016, 1:31 pm
    Keywords: PDMA Blog

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