Striving for fitness in creative ecology: From design thinking to design doing


Design thinking may not sound like a new concept for many of you. Very often, from policy planning to strategy, we take into account user perspectives to make things work better. In our complex and interconnected world, efficiency is no longer the key ingredient in the formula for success.  As Tim Brown, a key advocate in design thinking, put it well at BODW 2016, “Creatively competitive companies are the ones who are constantly innovating, looking for new ideas, promoting new ideas, and finding ways to serve customers better.” In this day and age, creatively competitive companies are striving for fitness in this knowledge-based economy. . “Organisations across all sectors, nature and sizes ought to embrace design thinking as integral part of their innovation culture and for entrepreneurship and organisational renewal”, echoed Prof. Eric Yim, Chairman, HKDC.

Companies which have anticipated the trend already applied design thinking at various levels and processes for over a decade. Leading management consulting companies worldwide have acquired independent design consultancies; innovation-led companies have appointed Chief Design Officers or executives with innovation and entrepreneurship capacity at board or top management-level position, an acknowledgment that design has, in many ways, already proven itself. A study of Design Value Index among publicly traded US companies shows that design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by a remarkable 228% (source: 2014, Design Management Institute).  “Good design draws people together through empathy, authenticity and meaning, beyond aesthetics, functionality and efficiency”, says Dr Edmund Lee, Executive Director, HKDC.

Looking back home, creative talents in Hong Kong have never been restrained by the city’s confining urban space. Confluence • 20+, a multidisciplinary exhibition of twenty inspiring collaborative design projects presented by HKDC, has just taken place during Milan Design Week. Through exchanging insights with one another, societies for themselves a self-contained ecosystem can also be creatively competitive to accommodate needs for all walks of life.

To harness the extraordinary power of a good design, we must ensure the deliverable is widely accessible.  An inclusive approach to design creates new opportunities to deploy creative and problem solving skills.  This year, the Knowledge of Design Week, themed Include 2017 Tackling Big Challenges through Design - Living, Connecting and Moving, will engage policy makers, business leaders and the design community to explore how design, working with users with diverse needs, capabilities and aspirations, can help us tackle complex and pressing issues around the globe.  We look forward to this exciting opportunity that international experts will share experiences.   

Design creates empathy and values, solves problems and it is beyond aesthetics.  With an uplift of the former newsletter, DMatters will bring forth contents of new mindset, inspirations and knowledge on good design and leadership, human-centred design and design leadership for innovation via email and LinkedIn. Do subscribe/ follow us!