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Title: Perspectives of academics and practitioners on design thinking
Author: Chan, Arthur
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 6348
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2016
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Design thinking has attracted a significant amount of interest and attention from the non-design sector in areas such as finance, government services and transport. This has resulted in new definitions that appear to describe design thinking as the mythical process that generates innovation and as a result, creating confusion and causing some to question its meaning. Research was undertaken to explore the possible knowledge gap that exists between academic and practitioner understanding of design thinking and its practical application. The relationship between the two has been articulated and a data driven model of design thinking created to further understanding of the meaning of design thinking. Firstly, an initial literature review was conducted to examine the origins, ownership and relationship between design thinking and four other related terms. Secondly, four common characteristics of design thinking were identified from projects reported by academics and practitioners as examples of the application of design thinking. The literature review provided the point of departure for the design of the empirical research instrument (RI). From the initial literature review four common characteristics of design thinking was identified; they were: drivers , experts , impact and processes . The research methodology employed constructivist grounded theory using a multi-qualitative method to maximise the capacity to gather high quality data. Pilot studies were conducted internally to test out the research instrument. From the pilot studies an additional common characteristic identified: design problem , being traditional or non-traditional. Following the pilot studies, primary data collection methods of interviews and online survey were employed. A total of 56 participants took part in the study, the participants who took part were academics and design practitioners from around the world. A total of 13 interviews were conducted and 43 survey responses were collected. The interviews and online survey used in data collection formed two stages of a triangulation strategy that was used to explore all the research questions. ii Two data sets were created from the interviews and online survey, which were analysed by thematic analysis and content analysis. From the thematic analysis, the five common characteristics identified from the literature review and pilot studies were confirmed; two additional common characteristics were identified as multidisciplinary and knowledge . Content analysis was conducted to identify evidence to describe the 7 common characteristics identified. Furthermore, the modes of expression for design thinking were also identified from the data in order to explore its relationship to design education. Case study analysis was the third stage of the triangulation strategy employed. It was conducted to check the reliably of the findings. This involved three design school case studies and three practice-based case studies of which two were for product designs and one was for service design. A qualitative data model of design thinking was developed to present the findings of the research. The research was then validated by a PhD seminar at Lancaster University and a validation study with experienced design practitioners. A final literature review was conducted after the validation studies to compare the research findings to the most recently published literature. From the literature review and validation studies, any appropriate findings were incorporated into the theory constructed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Design thinking ; Academia ; Practice ; Definition ; Model