Department of Management

Designing the future: The strategic role and impact of design thinking in creating the future of human-technology interaction

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Design thinking has grown into a considerable field of management theory and practical application, helping organizations renew products, services, or even business models and strategy by way of the processes which designers have traditionally used to create and innovate. Design thinking orients itself towards the future in the sense that all design is for products, services or events that will exist in the future, and be used by people in the future. This has resulted in an “overlap” between design thinking and the domain and concerns of strategic foresight, and a small literature has grown up around how design thinking may be used to enhance future studies. This paper is informed by that literature, but particularly considers the relationship from the other point of view: how methods from the strategic foresight field may sharpen design thinkers’ perception of the users of tomorrow they are designing-thinking for, and help design thinkers create a point of view ahead of time as to how changing contextual circumstances may reshape end-users’ needs and preferences. The study rests on research into activities of 300 design thinking practitioners, investigating where and how they use future thinking currently, and suggesting how this need may be fulfilled in a richer and more theoretically grounded way.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCalifornia Management Review
StateSubmitted - 2018

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