Design Thinking for Business

Gruppo di Lavoro


The Design Thinking for Business Observatory kicks off in 2017 as a result of the increasing pervasiveness of this approach in a variety of application contexts: from management consulting to digital transformation, from digital experience design (UX/UI) to the development of new consumer experiences. Proof of the growing pervasiveness is in the many acquisitions of the last 5 years made by management consulting firms or by leading players operating in digital transformation design agency and study areas. This phenomenon shows the strategic value that is being attributed to Design Thinking methodologies, approaches, and tools as enablers of innovation processes. In particular, the Observatory aims to bring together a group of companies willing to exchange views on the recent evolutions of Design Thinking, to pool the potentialities but also the weaknesses of this approach in order to establish a strong, up-to-date point of reference for all Design Thinkers. Results of the research conducted by the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano in collaboration with the Department of Design and PoliHub will be useful to all innovation project leaders.


Watch the Kick Off video


Watch the CIRCLE workshop video 



The 2017 activity plan of the research team in collaboration with Partners includes:

  • Develop numerous case studies of companies within the Design Thinking ecosystem aiming to understand the benefits of this approach as well as challenges to be faced;
  • A census of emerging startups in the Design Thinking ecosystem to be able to provide a guide to companies searching for innovative solutions to manage Design Thinking processes;
  • Implement a closed doors CIRCLE workshop with an innovative format with research Partners aiming to promote the opinion exchange and debate around Design Thinking;
  • Implement a second opinion exchange opportunity, a COMMUNITY workshop, to also involve demand players in the debate around Design Thinking themes;
  • Draft a Report with the main results of the Research conducted by the Observatory;
  • Quickly and effectively communicate the main news items about Design Thinking in Italy and Worldwide to the Observatory related community;


The Observatory aims for the following Research activities in 2017:

  • BUSINESS MODELS in the Design Thinking Ecosystem:
    • Map the different Approaches, Mindsets, Methods, Processes, Tools and KPIs characterizing Design Thinking;
    • Define a "compass" to guide the ecosystems’ different players in the adoption of the different Approaches, Mindsets, Methods, Processes, Tools and KPIs;
  • ENGAGEMENT through Design Thinking:
    • Map the organization structures adopted for projects designed to change the structure and culture of an organization;
    • Identify the guidelines promoting the adoption and understanding of the organizational changes;
  • STARTUPS in the Design Thinking Ecosystem:
    • Map startup provided solutions that can create value for Design Thinking ecosystem members;
    • Define a "compass" to help orient the ecosystems’ different players in identifying potential partners among the most innovative startups.

Partners and Sponsors

For further information, collaboration and support requests for the other researches of the Design Thinking for Business Observatory, please contact Ing. Claudio Dell'Era (email: claudio.dellera@polimi.it).