What’s With All The Hate On Design Thinking?

Every time there is a collective badmouthing of a popular thing, I get curious about why that is.

When I did CrossFit (yes, rule number one of CrossFit: Always talk about CrossFit) and started getting more into the nitty-gritty of this exercise regime, I found so much hate towards it and dissing of this exercise regime. The first thing I got to hear, when I told people I did CrossFit, was negativity, instead of support of having found something that worked for me to improve fitness and health and a big ol’ high five.

Now that my main focus (at least in my work life) is innovation as a whole and Design Thinking in particular, I noticed similar reactions. So much so, that when talking with business connections about the innovation methodology I apply regularly, I start not calling it by its name to avoid prejudice and preconception.



I guess first of all, people seem to hate, if something becomes a buzzword.

There are obviously different ways to name the actual process behind Design Thinking and that’s fine, but why not just call it by the name? Any name? It helps identify what you’re doing and the process you’re applying. I should not, as mentioned above, have to pull a new name out of the hat.

Let’s just call it what it is and stand by it!


Trolls & Bullies

Then there are simply the people that can’t stand something becoming a thing. So, everybody who is supporting something popular, must be punished, right?

Here’s the weird thing. I was actually a punk girl as a teenager and I am still a punk at heart (where it suits me). I should be the one going against the norm, shouting, “Anarchy!”.

But I am not. If I see, something has value and it works, be it CrossFit or Design Thinking, I follow that popular road and stand by it.

And by sticking to my guns I suddenly feel I become the one going against the stream of negativity and trolling and so, becoming the punk girl once more, saying, “Now more than ever!”.


This is probably the main point. To use the CrossFit analogy once more, it has happened that people smack-talked CrossFit, saying people get injured easily because the weightlifting form applied is sub-optimal, then I get sent links to “CrossFit fail” videos on YouTube that are clearly not shot in CrossFit gyms. This shows in just under a minute that the person doing the criticising doesn’t know what they are talking about.

And the similar reaction is this weird short silent pause after me mentioning Design Thinking in a conversation or when people send me links to “Why Design Thinking is nonsense” articles.

Clearly they have not applied it or applied it in the wrong way and didn’t come out with results.

Love the Process

No matter what you call it, applying a process of empathy, good research, a clear definition of what you’re trying to solve and who you are solving it for, ideating and prototyping, cannot fail you.

So, stop getting hung up on terminology, think about your user, think about problem solving, and…