These critiques of design thinking are not unique to Vinsel, Jen, Nussbaum or myself. They are echoed in blogs and conference presentations. The critiques of design thinking are:
- It takes a thoughtful, complex, iterative, and often messy process and dramatically oversimplifies it in order to make it easily understandable
- It trivializes the role of craft and making things, which is fundamental to the process of design
- It promotes “empathy-light”—as if an empathetic and meaningful connection with people can be forged in days or hours
- It’s become a tool of consultancies to sell work, not to drive real impact
These critiques of design thinking are just, as is the emergent backlash against the methodology by designers and design organizations. When viewed from the historic roots I’ve described above, today’s design thinkers lack craft, lack intellectual foundations, and can’t make things.