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The BS Show
#6: Yes, Design Thinking (& Innovation) is Bullsh*t - Part 1

#6: Yes, Design Thinking (& Innovation) is Bullsh*t - Part 1

In Part 1 Stef and Austin discuss IDEO's lack of awareness when coining the term "design thinking," its red flags, and the flawed case for "disruptive innovation" outlined in The Innovator's Dilemma.

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Austin has wanted to debunk Design Thinking for years now, but with everyone so sensitive to its critique (including some potential clients), his case had to be very strong. And yet, there are so few critiques of Design Thinking and even less research into its effectiveness.

Throughout 3 episodes of The BS Show Austin critiques what few have. Design Thinking and Innovation. He will combines the critiques of Natasha Jen (designer)Lee Vinsel (historian)Adam Ferrier (marketer)Jill Lepore (journalist), and others, as well as go even deeper with his own criticisms.

View Austin’s slide presentation for a quick scan of my 3-part series.

In Part 1, we discuss:

  • The red flags that led Austin to doubt Design Thinking 3 years ago.

  • What Design Thinking is.

  • The origins of design thinking (you don't want to miss this fascinating story).

  • Why innovation is the first key to understanding why Design Thinking is bullsh*t.

  • Where the theory of “disruptive innovation” came from and how it was built on cherry-picked case studies (that didn’t pan out in the end) and circular arguments.

In further episodes, we will discuss:

  • The reality of innovation.

  • The myth of IDEO's success.

  • The biases that led to Design Thinking's popularity.

  • The surprising source of most true innovations throughout history (Spoiler Alert: It wasn't 5-day Design Sprints).

  • The dangers of innovation for society and your bottom line.

  • Design Thinking failures.

  • Why Steve Jobs was the furthest thing from a "Design Thinker."

  • What motivates the $6 billion Design Thinking industry (Spoiler alert: It's not proof of its effectiveness).

  • Survivorship bias and the severe lack of successful Design Thinking case studies.

  • The dangerous pitfalls of Design Thinking for advertising.

  • The even more dangerous pitfalls of Design Thinking for brand identity design.

  • Decades of evidence debunking brainstorming (and the absence of evidence supporting it) for generating good ideas.

  • Why isolation and time are essential keys to solving complex problems.

And finally, Austin’s cheeky oversimplified hexagons for success.

Relevant Visuals for Listeners:

Design Thinking’s oversimplified hexagons
Ridiculous Design Thinking lingo (from Natasha Jen’s Design Thinking is Bullshit talk).
The Halo Effect book cover.
Branding Bullsh*t
The BS Show
Brand Strategists Stef Hamerlinck and Austin Franke discuss the BS and myths that run rampant in the brand design, advertising, and marketing industries.