Despite the generally well-accepted premise that design thinking offers real value to business and organizations, there remains an undercurrent of skepticism—even suspicion—concerning its validity. In some cases, this seems to be due to a well-intentioned concern as to its real impact. In others, it's a reaction to the evolution of design thinking as jargon, and perhaps some opportunistic applications of the term.
There is no valid reason for design to concede the hard-won respect it's earned through design thinking
I think it's worth remembering two important things:
1. The fact that some people misuse either the label or the ideas that are core to design thinking does not invalidate design thinking. (comments on commitment, follow-through and hard work above are well taken).
2. In a broader sense, design thinking and design-driven innovation have done more to advance the value of design as a practice and a strategic asset than any other developments over the last 100 years, and that in less than a decade. It has also redefined the role design, and designers, play. That value is best understood through the growth of design-led companies, a growing list.
IBM, McKinsey, Accenture, Deloitte, and other large corporations have made serious investments in design (including acquisitions) due to the advance of design and design thinking. None of this was on the radar a decade back.
A few years back, I made a number of these same points in a guest blog piece for DMI.org. The occasion was a statement by Bruce Nussbaum asserting that design thinking was already over. I'm happy to stand by the statements I made then. Then as now, there is no reason for design to concede the hard won respect it's earned through the advances of design thinking.