international research

The 2019 report describes the kaleidoscopic nature of Design Thinking, investigates its adoption in more than 200 Consulting Organizations, analyzes the relevance of more than 70 practices and measures its impact on value in almost 300 Design Thinking projects


conceptual framework


The Design Thinking paradigm can assume different forms and interpretations according to the nature of the companies involved (consulting organization and client), the specific challenges, and the objectives of the innovation project. The 2019 report explores 4 different kinds of Design Thinking: Creative Problem Solving (Solving wicked problems adopting both analytical and intuitive thinking), Sprint Execution (Delivering and testing viable products in order to learn from customers and improve the solution), Creative Confidence (Engaging people to make them more confident with creative processes) and Innovation of Meaning (Envisioning new directions that aim at proposing meaningful experiences to people). In order to explore the articulated nature of Design Thinking several dimensions of analysis have been organized in three main concepts: (1) Design Thinking SETUP aims at investigating the team composition and the goals addressed by the Design Thinking project; (2) Design Thinking PRACTICES aims at exploring the delivered project phases, the capabilities collected in the team and the attitudes embedded in the project activities; (3) Design Thinking VALUE aims at investigating the value generated by the adoption of Design Thinking from two different perspectives, consulting organization and client.


design thinking demand


The 2019 report provides a international overview of the approaches, practices, and capabilities of Design Thinking developed by consulting organizations. More specifically, the empirical results rely on almost 300 responses collected in the last quarter of 2018 and in first quarter of 2019. The data allow understanding the market addressed along several dimensions: Industries, where the clients operate; Sponsors, interpreted as the client function representing the project sponsor; Domains, defined as the main domain addressed by the project. The collected data quantify the market addressed by consulting organizations through the adoption of the 4 kinds of Design Thinking and estimate the growth described by each approach. Furthermore, the analysis identifies the capabilities and attitudes that have the largest positive influence on project success across the 4 kinds of Design Thinking. The analysis of the relevance of 30 different goals achieved by almost 300 consulting projects based on Design Thinking suggests interesting insights on the interpretation and potentialities of the paradigm.


kaleidoscopic design thinking


The analyzed consulting organizations show significant variety in terms of size, annual revenues, and organizational structure. The focus on the unit (e.g., business unit, service line, department) specialized in consulting projects based on Design Thinking also highlights interesting nuances along the same dimensions. The data about almost 300 consulting projects are interesting in this respect. On average, they lasted 7.8 months and involved 20.2 team members, 5.8 belonging to consulting organizations and 14.4 belonging to clients. The industries where clients operate that are most represented in the sample are Finance and Insurance (16.2%), Healthcare (12. 4%), Public Administration (7. 2%). Focusing on the function leading the consulting project based on Design Thinking from the client side, the sample highlights three main functions: Business Development (16.5%), Board (14.1%) and Marketing (13. 4%). Marketing (60.8%) is also the function more frequently involved in the team of consulting projects based on Design Thinking, Operations (57.7%) and Information Technology (56.7%) show slightly lower percentages


applying design thinking


The analysis of the Design Thinking practices adopted by consulting organizations is organized in three main clusters: (1) 24 practices associated with the Phases of the Design Thinking process (Understanding, Reframing, Conceiving, Prototyping, and Testing); (2) 23 practices associated with the Capabilities characterizing the Design Thinking paradigm (Imagination, Creativity, Recombination, Business Modelling, and Engagement); (3) 21 practices associated with the Attitudes characterizing the Design Thinking paradigm (Holistic Thinking, Embracing Ambiguity, Visualization, Empathy, and Criticism). The value generated through Design Thinking projects has been modeled along two main dimensions: (i) Value for the consulting organization, captured through 8 items, and (ii) Value for the client, captured through 8 items.

download the full report


dt4b report 2019 pictures the Design Thinking market across different industries, describes the kaleidoscopic nature of this paradigm introducing 4 different kinds of Design Thinking, measures the adoption of more than 70 practices and its impact on value in Design Thinking projects.

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