People - 16.05.2016 - 00:00 

Embedding Design Thinking into companies

Involve clients in the innovation process and teach the organisation repetitive loops – that is the approach of design thinking. Christophe Vetterli examined in his thesis how companies can embed this approach and how the embedding process can be accelerated.
Source: HSG Newsroom

12 May 2016. Design thinking is an innovation approach that should lead to the solving of problems and development of new ideas. In doing so, design thinking draws the clients into the innovation process in order to better understand their needs and to design constructive, client-centric solutions for this. "There is no consensus about embedding design thinking into companies", said Christophe Vetterli. In his doctoral thesis "Embedded Design Thinking" he examined what factors must be present in order to embed this innovation approach into companies in an evolutionary manner and to sustainably use this as well.

Fascinated by design thinking

Christophe Vetterli was already fascinated by design thinking during his Master's programme. It just so happened that at the end of his studies a Ph.D. position was advertised with exactly this topic. Instead of leaving academia, Vetterli accepted the position in order to research the issue at a practical level. He accompanied, among others, a financial services provider for years to research how this provider implemented design thinking into its IT environment. The embedding process took several years. "The dissertation provides the first step as to how embedded design thinking can be systematically addressed in a company."

Valuable experience grained

Since the current understanding of embedded design thinking in a company context is highly heterogeneous, very different methodologies are the result. "Many are far, or very far, from sustainable embedded design thinking", says Vetterli. His thesis also provides an overview of the current understanding of the scientific literature on "Embedded Design Thinking".

Design thinking still fascinates Vetterli even after his return to the business world: "Through my dissertation I was able to garner unique experience, which now turns out to be very valuable in my advisory role. Every embedding process has something unique about it; nevertheless, clear patterns can be seen."