Design Thinkers have become a critical element of business success

DesignThinkers in the broadest context is a reflection of the extraordinary times in which we live. Amid explosive advancements in media formats and technology – and their immense impact on communications, design, businesses and culture – design thinking is clearly a concept whose time has come.

How to define design thinking? To me it’s a balance of analysis and intuition. It’s insights and inspiration. Partly process, partly the ability to go beyond what is commonly understood. It’s the ability to take a creative leap into an area that is altogether new and that somewhat embraces aspects of the unknown – but not carelessly so.

Design thinking is really at the epicenter of what we do today – and not just for those of us in the graphics profession. Design thinking continues to seep deeper and deeper into the consciousness of leading businesses as companies increasingly recognize how critical it is to their own success in the marketplace.

Design thinking is a term we are hearing business executives use more and more. The broader business community is starting to pick up on it and for good reason.

We live in a world where so many products and services are being commoditized. In this environment, simply ‘being good’ at what you do is no longer good enough. You also need to be different – and not simply different for the sake of being different.

As I said, winning the game is also about being unique. Being good is nothing more than the price of entry today. If you are not unique, creative, original, then you are a commodity. And that means you are going to fight it out with the competition on price alone.

Need proof? Look at the examples being set daily by leading brands – brands like BMW and IBM – that both command a premium in their markets and define their categories.

They are the ones that have truly embraced design thinking, inspired design thinking that reflects original thinking. Sadly, business that are slow to pick up on that are suffering, both in this economy and within the competitive business environment at large. To think otherwise is to risk being too late to the game, an also-ran among the competition.

No longer can design, creativity and originality be viewed collectively as a ‘nice to have’ or a luxury that might slow down product cycles or limit margins. Today, companies rising to the top of their categories are those are completely embrace design thinking at its best.

There is a very powerful trend at work that’s bringing business and the creative side of graphic design together. It is a trend that will no doubt continue to grow in reach and depth as more companies recognize, understand and embrace what today’s DesignThinkers are bringing to the table.

President of RGD Ontario & Co-founder/Creative Director of
Context Creative


About rgddesignthinkers

The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD) is the professional body for graphic designers in Ontario. RGD grants graphic designers who qualify the right to use the designations Registered Graphic Designer and R.G.D., a quality signal of standards of professional practice. RGD has approximately 2800 members. Attracting over 1,000 participants and a full line-up of fascinating speakers, DesignThinkers is Canada’s largest, most important graphic design event. It’s an occasion to listen, learn and interact with peers from across the country.
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2 Responses to Design Thinkers have become a critical element of business success

  1. I would have to agree that design thinking is very important. If you notice around the globe people have choices. But now that people have this new power, the companies are going to have to realize this new change. Too stand out they will have to take risks and be confident that their designers will deliver. It takes strategy and research and that is what designers do and some companies do not realize that. They may not realize that more time is spend on problem-solving and using intuition to combat the results that they are looking for. Personally I think that is the best part of coming up with the design. Trying to be innovative and determined to come up with something that is different or will make a change. Design is suppose to be fun but with serious results. I think I got goosebumps ;p. Hope I get to check this out.

  2. Connor Birch says:

    If we are to really go mainstream with Design Thinking to redesign businesses in their entirety, we need to stop talking about product design, and communications design in the same breath. Product Design, Communications Design, etc are important, and they are a component of Design Thinking applied to the business as a whole, but they are only a component, just like every other vital component of a business eg hiring process, office environment, and IT. We need to be clear, Designing is traditional design of things. Design Thinking is using the skills of the designer and applying it to a business as a whole.

    Connor Birch, Design Thinker at

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