Rigour of Design Thinking in Organisational Practice

Rigour of Design Thinking in Organisational Practice | Design Thinking | Emeritus

The design thinking phenomenon has been fascinating to follow. It has made a successful jump from design practices to other realms of business, from marketing to human resources, from finance to supply chain. The propagation of design thinking as a tool for innovation is well-documented.

However, the haste in which design thinking is applied as a quick-fix solution to an organisation’s problem-solving woes is a false premise. While design thinking offers a clear and easy framework, the assumption that it is easy to implement is misleading. It is easy to understand, but distorted and shortsighted timelines often mar the practice of staying true to the process.

Design thinking as a process requires rigour in its application. Let’s evaluate three aspects of the design thinking process which are crucial to successful implementation.

Design Thinking | Emeritus India


  1. Research: There needs to be both depth and breadth in the study Information from a wide variety of sources and complemented by a deep understanding of key stakeholders. One needs to map the crowded median, as well as the outliers. To discover ‘What is’ {ref Jeanne Liedtka} we need to invest in qualitative research and quality researchers. Empathy comes from immersively understanding the situation and not from a dipstick analysis. Research is a continuous practice of this framework; research is used to validate and supplement understanding and clarity throughout the process. Research around its applicability is a non-negotiable stage, even in the testing phase.
  1. Synthesis & Sensemaking: These are two crucial skills for any design thinking Both require an assembly of astute minds who are deeply familiar with all business contexts and have the right mindset to filter the information through the correct lens. They also must have the space and the liberty to bring forth even contrarian and confusing conclusions, and the key decision-makers must develop the ability to absorb and reflect on them, reflect on ‘what if ’ possibilities, no matter how outside their comfort zone it may be.
  1. Ideation & Iteration: Similar to any scientific process, a process of hypothesis, testing and elimination are required. Ideas are plenty, but checking all the prescribed boxes is rare. Often, teams have to go through a learning curve with all new ideas, figuring the correct configuration and version vis-a-vis the business’s current and future The ability of an organisation to take a half-decent

but feasible idea and make it into a fabulously deployed idea is uncommon. One of the two scenarios often occurs; either the participants are waiting for the perfect idea and spend too much time with no traction, or they take a poor idea quickly without fleshing out the essentials for long-term implementation. The key is to iterate ideas enough to tackle 60-80% of the problem and a novel solution with clear advantages over the status quo over time.

Design thinking performs best when applied with a scientific temperament— tempered by constant evaluations and benchmarking. Take creative liberties for developing the ideas and envisioning possibilities, but then ground them in accurate and relevant data and thorough analysis.


~ Prof. Srishti Bajaj , Dean, GD Goenka School of Fashion & Design


The greatest designs are often the simplest ones that are relatable by users. Companies are now taking a step ahead in this direction, with a lot of focus being made on customer experience, which is backed by data. Be at the helm of this change by understanding the latest in this domain. Enroll in a design thinking course by Emeritus taught by leaders in this domain. Take your pick from the range of courses in design thinking from world-class universities and step into the future confidently. 

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Nikhil is a passionate and free-spirited writer with 4+ years of experience. He has a keen eye for the ever-evolving content landscape, which helps him craft captivating content across various genres. He writes about marketing, data science, and finance for the Emeritus Blog. Beyond work, Nikhil is a dedicated pet parent who loves leisurely walks with his beloved puppers.
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