Design Thinking 101: Recommended Films Part 1

We’ve shared many of our Design Thinking reading recommendations on this blog and given that many of the Sutherland Labs staff are devoted cinephiles, if not filmmakers themselves, it was really just a matter of time before the subject of favourite movies came up.

From interviews with Design Thinking founders, to the start-ups that are disrupting traditional industries through design-led thinking, here’s our directors cut of the teams favorite documentaries.

Design & Thinking

It would be hard to talk about Design Thinking documentaries without mentioning the documentary that is specifically about Design Thinking. This documentary speaks to many of the leading minds in business about Design Thinking; visiting start-ups, educators, government offices, practitioners and even people who oppose Design Thinking, looking for answers to the big question of how massive multinational corporations are somehow being beaten at their own game by kids working out of their parent’s garages.

Design Disruptors

Talking about those kids in their parent’s garages, Design Disruptors takes a look at how 15 start-ups toppled the giants of their industries and grew to become the new establishment, using the secret weapon of applying Design Thinking to every aspect of their business, not just the creation of products. Design & Thinking might tell you what Design Thinking is, but this film shows its power in action. A series of snapshots of 90 different leaders at the peak of their influence.

Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Charles and Ray Eames were America’s most influential industrial designers, admired by all for their creations and fascinating in their personal lives. This film draws on archival footage as well as interviews with the duo’s friends and colleagues as well as experts in the field to capture the personality of the designers as well as looking at the impact they had on the industry.

Art and Copy

This documentary starts right at the beginning of the “creative revolution” of the advertising industry – like Mad Men with less nudity, swearing and pretty much everything that makes Mad Men what it is. Then it follows through the history of the industry, highlighting the most influential advertising creatives of our time, both the artist and the writers, interspersed with glimpses of their lives’ work and the societal impact that these adverts had.

The Founder

This biopic about the creation of the McDonalds chain may not immediately seem to related to Design Thinking, but just one look at the process by which the titular founder created his industry revolutionizing business is enough to prove otherwise. He observes the problems in the diners he visits. He identifies the inherent issues that cause those problems. He explores opportunities by tracking down the McDonalds brothers. He prototypes the new service blueprint and he experiments with new business models like franchising. Design Thinking from start to finish!

If you liked our selection, you’ll be pleased to hear we had too many recommendations to fit into one post! Next time we dive into television series that will open up your mind to the Design Thinking process.

Service Designer

Sutherland Labs
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