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Design Thinking has evolved over the past decade (or two), and even though there are a variety of flavors, the basic elements are quite consistent. Today Design Thinking has soundly grounded itself in most design environments. Gone are the days where studios conceived ideas in a vacuum, without validation, user-testing and the input of the targeted users. Regardless of the flavor, the core principles are rooted in research, design exploration and then evaluation – before any real development is carried out. It is an iterative process who’s goal is to maximize usability and user fulfillment. It is only through this design-cycling that a more perfect solution can be achieved.

Those of you who have had me as an instructor know of my admiration of the Nielsen Norman Group. They are leaders when discussing user research, design thinking, and user-experience topics. Below is how they interpret design thinking.

Our own visualization of design thinking is a circle, to emphasize the iterative approach we recommend. This graphic is one of many that prominently show the process aspect of design thinking. The cumulative effect of such visuals influences how practitioners perceive the concept.