Design Thinking – Overview of the origin and the history

Over the years the Design Thinking method became more and more common not only for companies but also for human’s everyday life. The roots of this method go far back into the first half of the 20th century and started with the “Bauhaus” by its founder Walter Gropius. This blog post will briefly discuss the history of its creation and its development.

The Bauhaus Building by Walter Gropius

Walter Adolf Georg Gropius, who lived from 1883 to 1969, was a German architect and is considered a founder of modern architecture. He designed the “Bauhaus” art school in 1919. Essential guiding principles of the Bauhaus, including the combination of art and craft, the interdisciplinary nature of teaching, and a focus on functionality and thus on the user, have shaped and continue to shape the modern concept of design to this day. Even though Design Thinking is not the same as the German meaning of the term design, it adopts these principles of Walter Gropius as the basis for a new way of working and thinking.

Some claim that the Design Thinking method originated in the USA. This is due to the fact that the three professors Terry Winograd, Larry Leifer and David Kelley of Stanford University in California have worked out the innovation method in 1990 for the first time scientifically. Their basic idea was to use creative processes, which should be used for the design of products and services.

Over the years, various institutes, scientists and companies have worked on the further development of this method. The most important ones were developed by the HPI School of Design Thinking, IBM and Google. This makes clear that there is not only one right method for the use and understanding of Design Thinking, but that it is a matter of interpretation. Each company must consider how they can best increase their productivity and innovation level. I am sure that there will be more Design Thinking success stories in the future and also more ways to implement this method.

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