Design Thinking 101: Recommended Reading

The more clients that we work with, the more we find that people are desperate for good starting information about Design Thinking. After a quick chat with everyone around the Labs we think that we have come up with a basic reading list for anyone who wants to dip their toes in the water of Design Thinking without taking the plunge and joining one of our workshops.

This list is far from comprehensive, so don’t yell at us if your favourite isn’t here, but it should give you the bare bones of a Design Thinking education. Welcome to Design Thinking 101!

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

This book by Tim Brown was recommended by almost everyone in the Labs. In it Brown tries to dissuade people from the idea that the only source of innovation in the world are geniuses being struck by inspiration and lays out the structures and iterative processes by which real and meaningful changes can be made to products and organizations. Brown doesn’t try to claim that switching to a user centred model will solve every problem that an organization might experience, but he does show how Design Thinking can help to evolve past the point where they are relevant.

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

This book by Alexander Osterwalder is well liked in the Labs because of the core frameworks that it provides. These frameworks are essential tools for judging viability in the world of Design Thinking. In this book you aren’t just given a list of business models that might be viable for your unique circumstances, you are also taught the tools that you need to adjust your model as the world changes around you. The book was created in co-operation with 470 business leaders from across 45 different countries to give you the whole breadth of their experience.

Books from our SF office

Toothpicks and Logos: Design in Everyday Life

John Heskett’s exploration of design starts from its humble beginnings when our pre-human ancestors started sharpening sticks for hunting all the way through to modern software interfaces, logos and the titular toothpicks, the latest in a long line of iterative designs involving pointy sticks. Exploring the methods that modern companies use in developing their designs and examining the influences of different cultures, movements, technological developments, governmental organizations and aesthetics on design throughout history. This book is one of the most thorough explorations of an aspect of human history that is so prevalent that it is often overlooked.

The Lovemarks Effect: Winning in the Consumer Revolution

In his previous book Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts discussed the ways that branding, price, service and quality were no longer enough to win in an ever-evolving landscape where power has been shifted from manufacturers and retailers to the consumers. In this follow up book, using interviews with consumers, business owners and marketing professionals, he explores the ways in which an emotional connection between a brand and its users is the key to sustaining success in consumer led marketplace. In short, how to make people fall in love.

We will be back with further reading that gets deeper into the specifics of methodology later in the year, but this list should keep you inquisitive creatures occupied for a little while. If you want a proper crash course in Design Thinking keep an eye on our website where we announce new workshops and opportunities every other week.

Snr Director, Marketing & Communications

Sutherland Labs
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