In addition to improving business collaboration, a design process can help a business to become more innovative. Often, solutions to business problems are derivative (based on existing case studies), or taken from one industry and reapplied to a different environment. These are valid approaches, but they are not innovative.

Innovation is the introduction of something truly new.

The first article in this series demonstrated how design thinking uses expansive (abductive) logic. By expanding the reasoning process and feeding off of genuine collaboration, the design process is able to generate truly innovative solutions:

  • The use of abductive logic ensures that the process is not stifled by what is already known. While the “tried and true” is not ignored (because those modes of logic are applied later in the process), existing solutions and ideas are not allowed to limit the initial development of new ideas. When nothing is assumed, anything is possible.
  • Collaboration, observation, listening, and enquiry ensure that a much wider range of perspectives—and therefore a wider range of potential solutions—are surfaced than what traditional approaches allow for.
  • The iterative design process ensures that the solution is tailored to the problem and its context.


The outcome of both traditional and design-thinking approaches to problem solving is theoretically the same: the best solution from the range of potential solutions is applied to the problem. In practice, however, the outcome of the design process is substantially more valuable because the range of potential solutions is more expansive, and the solution “fit” is ideal rather than simply the “best of the bunch”.

Case in Point

We used design thinking to help an organization completely rethink a special concert program. Our process tackled the challenge of designing a compelling, manageable, and Earth-friendly program despite a very large amount of written content. Our Informed Design process led to an innovative solution that became an important part of the concert experience for patrons. Read about it here >>


In the next article, we’ll demonstrate how design addresses whole systems in business.

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