Design thinking capability model: A management framework to support design thinking implementation for product development
de Paula, Danielly
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Design thinking is lauded to reduce cost and redesign work in the new product development process and shorten lead time to development. Because of that, researchers are investigating how to use using design thinking as an organisational resource to reinvent the entire new product development process. However, there is a lack of a management tool to guide companies in the strategic deployment of design thinking practice for product development. In order to address that gap, the goal of this research is to develop a Design Thinking Capability Model (DTCM) that can support companies in the selection of the most suitable design thinking practices to be implemented into the product development process according to the companies’ strategic drivers. In order to develop the model, a sequential exploratory mixed methods approach was employed. First, in order to capture insights into the design thinking domain, two rounds of in-depth exploratory interviews were performed with key opinion leaders with significant experience in DT in both academia and industry. From this initial exploration together with the findings from the literature review, success factors for design thinking implementation were identified and organised into an instrument (or scorecard) aimed at measuring a company’s design thinking capability. The scorecard was applied in a large organisation as a case study in order to test whether the model could support the company in the design thinking implementation for software development. Through the case study, this study proved that DTCM (a) worked in a real-world setting and (b) was valuable, consistent, complete, of sufficient depth, easy to use, clear, coherent and had the ability to forecast the next steps to be taken to improve the design thinking implementation in the company. This study provides the first attempt to create a Design Thinking Capability Model that can support companies in the strategic deployment of design thinking for product development. The model establishes variables involved in design thinking implementation and management, and the relationship among them to allow effective implementation in business companies. From an applied perspective, companies can benefit from a capability model that diagnoses their current design thinking profile, identify areas for improvement and serve as a roadmap to achieve a desired design thinking situation.