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From UCD to Design Thinking: A Continuum of Business Innovation


Design Thinking: Bridging the Past and Present in Business

In the 2010s, my journey in the realm of UX design was a captivating odyssey marked by dynamic changes and remarkable trends that have left an indelible mark on the field. One of the most notable transformations during that era was the widespread adoption of 'Design Thinking in Business,' a philosophy that deeply resonated with my professional ethos.

Design Thinking in Business embodies a holistic perspective that transcends the confines of isolated components or interactions. It challenges us to consider the entire ecosystem or system in which a product or service thrives.

This approach harks back to the collaborative spirit of our earlier UCD (User-Centered Design) days, when we seamlessly embraced multifaceted roles. It's a reminder of how those collaborative experiences laid the groundwork for the holistic mindset that Design Thinking now champions in the realms of both business and design. It's a testament to the enduring influence of our past experiences on the evolving landscape of design and business.

Instead of viewing a design problem in isolation, systems thinking encourages us to consider the broader context. This includes understanding how users, devices, environments, and other elements interact within the system.

Holistic Perspective:

Systems thinking places a strong emphasis on the needs and behaviors of users within the system. As a UX Designer, I seek to understand the goals, motivations, and pain points of users to create solutions that meet their needs effectively.

User-Centered Design:

Here, I analyze the relationships and dependencies between different elements within the system. This includes not only user interfaces but also backend processes, data flows, and the larger ecosystem in which the product or service operates.


Systems thinking recognizes that user experiences can influence and be influenced by other parts of the system. I should consider how feedback loops operate and strive to optimize them for better outcomes.

Feedback Loops:

It involves understanding the cause-and-effect relationships within the system. For example, how a change in one part of the system might impact other parts and, ultimately, the user experience.

​Cause and Effect:

We often create visual representations, such as ecosystem maps or journey maps, to illustrate the various components and interactions within the system. This helps identify pain points and opportunities for improvement.

Ecosystem Mapping:

Systems thinking also considers the long-term consequences of design decisions. This involves thinking about the sustainability, scalability, and adaptability of the design as the system evolves over time.

Long-Term Impact:

Collaborative teamwork is essential in systems thinking. We often work closely with stakeholders from different domains to gain a comprehensive understanding of the system and ensure that the design aligns with broader organizational goals.​


In Conclusion

As we journeyed from the foundations of UCD (User-Centered Design) to the dynamic realm of Design Thinking in business, one profound truth emerged: it's the unity of these principles, the fusion of past and present, that fuels innovation. The UX trinity—Goals, Environment, and Users/Customers—serves as the compass guiding our design odyssey, reminding us that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

In this continuum, we've learned that true innovation doesn't arise from isolated components but from the harmonious interplay of elements. Embracing a holistic approach, we understand that every part of a system influences the whole, every interaction shapes the user experience, and every decision reverberates through the ecosystem.

In a world of intricate interdependencies, a holistic mindset is the key to unlocking productivity, creativity, and user-centric excellence. It's a reminder that as designers, developers, and innovators, our strength lies not only in understanding individual elements but in orchestrating the symphony of a complete and harmonious experience.

So, as we continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of business innovation, let us carry forward the legacy of UCD, the dynamism of Design Thinking, and the wisdom of the UX trinity. Together, they form an indomitable continuum—one that propels us toward new horizons, where innovation thrives in the embrace of holistic design and development. Our journey is far from over; it's a symphony in the making, with each note resonating with the promise of a brighter, more user-centered future.

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