Business of Marketing

Forge Your Design Thinking Toolkit

November 22, 2016
Digital Surgeons

Design Thinking, or “human-centered design,” is commonplace in the winner's circle of today’s brands and businesses that put the wants and needs of the end customer first. It’s a way of humanizing robotic processes, encouraging teams to be more adaptable, and reaching solutions in inventive ways. Simply put, design thinking is codified creativity that helps to create simple human solutions for complex problems — a must as business, media, and technology continue to rapidly evolve.   

Businesses increasingly embrace design, but how exactly is it utilized? It can be daunting for those unfamiliar with design thinking to jump into the swing of things, but we’ve scoped out some great starting points we’d like to share with you. Here’s our strategy guide to forge your own design thinking toolkit.

Books to Get You Excited About How Design Thinking Can Transform Your Business or Brand: 

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All


Each and every one of us is creative. While some are able to tap into it more easily than others, everyone is capable of harnessing their creative power with the right guidance. IDEO founder David Kelley and his brother-slash-IDEO partner Tom Kelley supply insights, principles, and strategies that can teach us all how to unleash our creative potential. 

This is Service Design Thinking


In a world increasingly full of choice, your business needs something to set it apart. This book covers the basics of service-design thinking and enhances your ability to design better services, ensuring your brand is the one customers choose.  

Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work 


What do designers really do when they design?  Influential mind Nigel Cross weaves together experience, analysis, and insight from all avenues of design thinking to provide a new understanding of what it means to be a designer. 

Exposing the Magic of Design: a Practitioner's Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis 

Traditional thinking and ways of working are not adequate for solving the problems of an increasingly ambiguous and chaotic world. This book offers design synthesis methods that act as a toolkit to tackle today’s complex problems with repeatable degrees of success.     

Change by Design


Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, shares his techniques for utilizing the methods of design thinking to drive new ideas. The core principles of design thinking, as well as effective methods and strategies for human-centered problem solving are explored in this must-read book from the firm that started it all.

Frameworks and Toolkits That Help Implement Design Thinking in Your Work:


Think Brainstorming 2.0 — gamestorming is a set of co-creation tools used by innovators around the world. This toolkit is a collection of games that are critical for boosting meeting effectiveness, improving collaboration and teamwork. 

Value Proposition Design


Value Proposition Design teaches you how to create and manage products and services that consumers actually want. Implementing new value proposition techniques ensures that the wants and needs of customers are met, while cutting down on time and energy wasted on dead-end ideas. 

Business Model Generation


This book supplies businesses with everything they need to plan their future route to success. Whether your goal is to implement a new business model, or upgrade your old one, Business Model Generation has a great set of tools to have at your disposal. 

Design a Better Business


Today’s great business must be designed from the ground up. This guide is a must have for predicting the inevitable curveballs that will be thrown your way, and how to turn them into successes.    

The Lean Startup


The Lean Startup is a guide on improvement and effectiveness that teaches startups not only what to do, but also what not to do. The agile approach presented stresses iteration, a key design thinking principal.   

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles To Improve User Experience  

The definitive guide to integrating user experience design with agile development methods, Lean UX demonstrates how design thinking can fit into lean workflows.

10 Businesses investing heavily in Human-centered Design:

  1. Microsoft
  2. Phillips
  3. 3M Design
  4. Intuit
  5. IBM
  6. Capital One
  7. Pepsi
  8. Fidelity
  9. Lowe's
  10. SAP

Design thinking principles like empathy for the end user, an openness to failure, and rapid prototyping, when paired with workshops that include gamestorms and other states of play, unlock the fresh thinking necessary to find human answers to complicated problems. It amplifies the creative problem solving of every employee, stripping away the barriers that years of education and work experience have built up that prevent us from just thinking differently.

At Digital Surgeons, we've used design thinking to accelerate products and work closely with universities, including Yale and Carnegie Mellon, to advance the methodology's growth and utility.   

Want to know more about how design thinking can transform your brand or business? Let's have a conversation about the power of human-centered design.

Thanks for reading.
Digital Surgeons
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