Two Blind Spots in Design Thinking

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From the 1980s, design thinking has emerged as a method for practical and creative problem solving, based on designers’ way of thinking, integrated into rational and iterative project models. In companies, design thinking helped to value creative teamwork, though not necessarily professional designers’ expertise. By pointing out two blind spots, this paper intends to shed light on key facets of designers’ expertise that are invisible in methodological frames. The first acknowledges problem framing as a breaking point based on designers’ insights and generative metaphors. The second blind spot questions the existence of a post-project design accompaniment, guided by practical wisdom. We thus seek to portray designers’ singularity, with practical insights from cross-disciplinary innovation projects, in order to stimulate critical reflection and promote the recognition of design culture in place of closed methods. The article ends up portraying the critical heteronomy exerted by professional designers, drawing a few management directions for organizations willing to make the most of designers’ expertise, beyond an out-of-date problem-solving approach to design.