Reinventing by Design

Ali Guinn

September 30, 2011

There is a misconception about “design” — that it is purely visual. The reality, however, is that aesthetics are just one ingredient among many involved in the design process.

Design is a way of thinking that draws from multiple disciplines. I like to think of it as a collaborative process—pulling from a variety of disciplines in order to create the whole. It is the way in which designer and non-designers alike approach challenges in order to create positive change.

A popular term for this process is “design thinking.” Successful companies use this process as a way to continuously redesign their businesses in order to achieve both product and process innovation. They do this by establishing an intimacy with their consumer in their research, rather than treating the consumer as the “demographic,” or focusing on the “marketing categories.” In taking this approach, companies can create new products by finding new ways to reinvent the past. “When we use design thinking to balance desirability, feasibility, and viability, we unlock the measures of value creation so desperately sought after by the world of good design. Impact in the world becomes the focus of designing,” explains Diego Rodriguez of IDEO.

A design-thinking approach to enhancing the student university experience by IDEO

Apple uses design thinking as part of its business model. “Apple [invents] the future by reinventing the past… Apple has spent years preparing us for what happens next. It’s part of the company’s modus operandi—a part so subtle it goes mostly unnoticed.” – Robert Hoekman Jr.