Understanding Design Thinking: A Process Model based on Method Engineering

Katja Thoring, Roland M. Müller

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic

    58 Citations (Scopus)
    11 Downloads (Pure)


    This article presents a formal model of the design thinking process based on Method Engineering. The foundation of our work is based on observations within an educational context—the 'School of Design Thinking' of the Hasso-Plattner-Institute in Potsdam, Germany ("HPI D-School"). We analyzed the design thinking process, as it is practiced there, and developed a process model that describes all process steps in detail, as well the respective input and output of each phase. A particular emphasis is given to the question, when to iterate in the process. The process model presented in this article contributes to a better understanding of design thinking, especially for educators, companies, and design practitioners. In detail, it could be used to better analyze design thinking projects and adjust them for specific companies or situations, to compare design thinking with other methods (design process models), and to develop IT-based solutions to support and facilitate the design thinking process itself or parts of it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of E&PDE 2011
    Subtitle of host publication13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, London, UK, 8-9 September 2011
    EditorsAhmed Kovacevic, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Lyndon Buck, Peter Hogarth
    PublisherThe Design Society
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9781904670339
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2011
    Event13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E&PDE 2011: Design Education for Creativity and Business Innovation - London City University, London, United Kingdom
    Duration: 8 Sept 20119 Sept 2011
    Conference number: 13


    Conference13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E&PDE 2011
    Abbreviated titleE&PDE
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • Design thinking
    • Design process
    • Method engineering
    • Process model
    • Design education

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