Mapping Design Thinking: Transformations, Applications and Evolutions


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Responds to...

  • How Design Thinking can be used by firms in order to increase their innovativeness?
  • What are the different approaches of Design Thinking have emerged in the last years? How are these approaches used? Which benefits do they produce?
  • How it is possible to solve complex, messy issues that ask for both analytical and intuitive capabilities?
  • How it is possible to rapidly realize products and services in order to test them as soon as possible on the market?
  • How it is possible engaging people in order to develop their creative confidence towards innovative and creative endeavors?
  • How it is possible designing new strategic directions able to propose new valuable experiences?
  • Which is the composition of the ecosystem of digital startups supporting Design Thinking approaches?


The report explores Design Thinking along three different perspectives:
1. Transformations in the way consultants interpret Design Thinking: this research line benefits from the collaboration with Delft University of Technology, Imperial College Business School, Reykjavik University and Stockholm School of Economics in order to provide a global overview about the approaches, practices and capabilities of Design Thinking developed by the consultants;
2. Applications of Design Thinking by innovators: this research line investigates the similarities and differences in the pioneering adoption of Design Thinking by innovators across industries (e.g., Finance, Energy, Information and Communication, Public Administration) and professional roles (e.g., C-levels, Design, Research and Development, Marketing, IT);
3. Evolutions of Design Thinking enabled by emerging startups: this research line identifies those emerging startups that provide interesting technological solutions (e.g., Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Rapid Prototyping) to empower the Design Thinking processes.
Each perspective is deepened through the data gathered during the research process and the experience of several leading players in the Design Thinking ecosystem.


  • Leadership by design: finding meaning in a world without directions
  1. Framework: Design Thinking: approaches and players
  2. Research results: transformations in consulting paradigms based on Design Thinking
  3. Research results: applications of Design Thinking developed by innovators
  4. Research results: evolutions of Design Thinking enabled by emerging startups
  5. Research approach: methodology and forthcoming reports
  6. Community development initiatives: kick-off, Design Thinking jams and convention
  7. Team: research team, partners and sponsors