Design Thinking factors the impact of Cultural Context on Design Results

“We all have the same processes and apply the same techniques. What differentiates us is our culture and how our culture shapes how we structure the design process and apply different techniques.”*

While designers across the board employ the same design process, applying industry techniques and the like, what tends to be the differentiating factor between agencies, labs or other design entities, is the cultural context and leadership decisions in which the designers must work. Whether the design process is embraced or smothered by that culture is often the leading factor in the type of design that emerges.

“Design Thinking” is the approach of accounting for the cultural context in which the Design Process is applied. So while the Process may be common across the board, the Thinking is the greater influencer.

While the purpose of this statement seems to seek an answer to why competing companies produce different design results, it seems equally applicable to the greater cultural contexts which each competing business is immersed in: 

• the prevailing attitudes toward business in a given culture
• the prevailing attitudes of the cultural environment at large (city, nation, country, etc).

Design Thinking gives some insight into the varying degrees of successful innovation between varying teams.

*Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, Sohrab Vossoughi, Founder & President of Ziba Design, and Jesse James Garrett, President of Adaptive Path, at the the DMI Conference 2009.

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