Reprise: What kind of thinking is Design thinking?

I was delighted to receive the following email a few days ago from John Webb, a friend and former colleague who is a senior counsellor (check his bio here It confirmed to me that I was not too wide of the mark in characterising the key cognitive moves in “design thinking”. Although I had written the paper based on my characterisation of this “trajectory of thought” in more explicit arenas of design disciplines, I was allowing myself to be shaped by a long history of self-reflective practitioners of creative thought, including Blaise Pascall, Albert Einstein and Arthur Koestler. So it is great to see the resulting description resonate so deeply with the experience of a professional counsellor.

Hello David,

I’ve just found and read your paper "What kind of thinking is design thinking?"

Actually, I printed the paper and took it to bed the other night at the end of a day’s counselling with a couple, and I couldn’t turn off the light until I finished. Mate! When I got to the sentence about the persistent practitioner becoming "uncommonly sure-footed" on the slippery mountain side of indeterminacy, I decided to drop you a line of appreciation. The paper describes exactly what I do every time I sit with anyone.

DT-I is a great description of conversation about life, and the ‘making’ is most often a relational space (intra- as well as inter-personal), which reveals pretty-well all the elements you describe so well. I love the way you describe what is required of the ‘designer’, especially on dealing in hope and being present in hope.

Thanks John.


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