The design field has demonstrated an ability to bring about effective transformation in abstract multi-dimensional issues. At the same time as the business world enters an era marked by a increased complexity and a need for innovative new ways to provide value amidst global competition, we are also becoming acutely aware of the large challenges facing civilization such as climate change, environmental degradation, and the energy crisis. If one postulates that these man-made challenges are the result of current patterns of growth, human behavior, and decision-making, then in order to cause the trends to veer away from their alarming race towards global instability, we need a fundamentally different type of thinking. Design Thinking might be the necessary alternative which has shown the ability to drive innovative solutions to “wicked problems.”
Design Thinking, the term used for the combination of the processes, skills, cognitive processes, and attitudes prevalent in design is being used to infuse innovation into businesses; an even more significant phenomenon is that design thinking is being looked at as having genuine promise in addressing issues of sustainability. At Stanford’s Design for Change Center, we are directing design thinking towards large issues such as the energy issue, bringing about new ideas for affecting wide spread behavior modification through designed interventions which range from a highly personal level to policy.