Articles in #design thinking


Organizations are not that different from us, human beings: both are organisms that – as long as they are nourished properly – can survive for a substantial amount of time. Likewise, if you want to make them more attractive, you dress them up; if you want to put them in a competition, you make sure they are lean and fit; and if you want them to be happy, you make sure that they have a purpose.


Amongst mankind’s great achievements you will find great inventions like the wheel, the boat or the water closet. Not hard to imagine where civilization would be without these… Most of these inventions are by now taken for granted: we don’t even bother to imagine how the world would be without them.


Do you have children? If not, no problem, because you might recall these yourself: the parent conference days! This ‘running-around-at-the-school-campus-and-looking-for-the-room’ where teachers are waiting for parents and their school-kids. Depending on the pupils’ ‘performance level’, the numbers of meetings were few or many and likewise a torture or purely a matter of duty.


The room was slowly filling up with the employees. One after the other they took their seats and didn’t look too pleased: the speech that I was about to be holding did interrupt the longed-for transition from their dinner to a well deserved drink at the bar! So this left me with the task to ensure that those snaring away during my talk would not animate the others to follow suit.

system failure

Our world is a system that contains many sub-systems: the oceans, the forests, the climate – all are complex, fragile and well calibrated organisms with a system character. If one of the parts is not running well, the others will suffer as well: one weak spot will influences the overall performance. Systems can repair themselves, once they are not running well – unless the weak spot is getting larger than the self-curing ability of the parts involved. Then the whole system can collapse: system failures are the most wicked problems around us.


Design came a long way: whereas in the beginning it had a focus on ‘shaping’ artifacts, objects and communication means, it eventually turned to products, thereafter software, services and nowadays to complete experiences. To conclude this process of dissolving into the immaterial, design now turns to the thinking! Design Thinking is design’s new top-notch discipline. The ‘designing’ happens solely inside the brain and therefore it’s solutions are (mainly) thoughts. Means that design is now also accessible to those who are all thumbs – provided that the brain involved can support the required thinking…

culture mix

When I was a kid they dropped people on the moon for the first time ever, and I witnessed it all live on b&w television. I also witnessed that they dropped bombs on people living in sheds, in countries far-away, and that students, because of that, were revolting and were throwing stones at the police. Disturbing pictures, but also strong visions of a better society, with technology that would solve all problems and seem to imply a brighter future. At the end of the 60’s the future only could be better than the current present!


Do you have leadership skills? If not, it’s going to be tough in future, because next to professional specialists (like electricians and plumbers) it are ‘leaders’ the economy is after! In view of the many, many wicked problems facing us, it takes true leaders to guide us into a better future.

design focus

It was a terrifying sight: a clutter of cables, tubes and pipes was hanging down from the ceiling and gave the scenery the impression of a torture chamber, just like you know from these old b&w horror movies – hello from Dr. Frankenstein!

Somehow it seemed that the grim atmosphere had no influence on the personnel working there: they were completely focussed on preparing patient for an intervention. As I had still to learn: with ‘the patient’ they were referring to the medical case, and not necessarily to the person himself – a subtle but crucial difference.


He was truly ‘special’, to say it mildly… but actually he was a true choleric, hysteric and narcissistic person, narrow minded, unforgiving and pungent according to many, many others. He would not let loose, he could be rude, direct and insensitive, but most of all he was obsessive – everything he did, and equally all others did for him, had to be perfect, nothing less. It had to be insanely great.