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Keeping Up with Design Thinking

Keeping Up with Design Thinking

Design thinking is an iterative, human-centered approach to understanding the needs of a specific group and developing services, spaces, and products in response. While the term arose to describe the creative process of design professionals like architects, it has since been applied to a more general process of innovation, popularized by the design consultancy IDEO and the Stanford, among others. Design thinking was first connected with academic librarianship in Steven J. Bell and John D. Shank’s 2007 bookAcademic Librarianship by Design: A Blended Librarian’s Guide to the Tools and Techniques [1], and it has spread further in the literature since IDEO’s free toolkit Design Thinking for Libraries [2] appeared in 2015. Design thinking serves as a supportive and creative methodology for academic librarians, who must constantly invent, refine, and indeed design spaces, services, and tools (often with tight constraints) for distinct groups of users with evolving needs.
What is Design Thinking?

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[1] Steven J. Bell and John D. Shank, Academic Librarianship by Design: A Blended Librarian’s Guide to the Tools and Techniques (Chicago: American Library Association, 2007).[2] IDEO, Design Thinking for Libraries: A Toolkit for Patron-Centered Design(Palo Alto: IDEO, 2015).

[3] Johansson-Sköldberg, Ulla, Jill Woodilla, and Mehves Çetinkaya. “Design thinking: past, present and possible futures.” Creativity and Innovation Management 22, no. 2 (2013): 121-146.

[4] IDEO, Design Thinking for Libraries: A Toolkit for Patron-Centered Design.

[5] Steven J. Bell “Design Thinking.” American Libraries 39, no. 1/2 (2008): 44-49.

[6] Tim Brown. “Strategy By Design.” Fast Company. June 2005.

[7] John J. Meier and Rebecca K. Miller. “Turning the Revolution into an Evolution: The Case for Design Thinking and Rapid Prototyping in Libraries.”College & Research Libraries News 77, no. 6 (2016): 283-286.

[8] Dirk Deichmann and Roel van der Heijde, “How Design Thinking Turned One Hospital into a Bright and Comforting Place,” Harvard Business Review, December 2, 2016.

[9] Robert I. Sutton and David Hoyt, “Better Service, Faster: A Design Thinking Case Study,” Harvard Business Review, January 6, 2016.

[10] Dan Berrett, “Boston College, to Refresh Its Aging Curriculum, Turns to Design Thinkers,” The Chroncile of Higher Education, April 6, 2015.

[11] Tim Brown and Barry Katz, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 13-15.

[12] IDEO, Design Thinking for Libraries, 9. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

[13] Graham Walton. “What User Experience (UX) Means for Academic Libraries.” New Review of Academic Librarianship 21, no. 1 (2015): 1-3.

[14] Michael Fosmire, “What Can Design Thinking Do for Libraries?,” Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship 83, (2016).




[18] Edward Luca and Bhuva Narayan, “Signage by Design: A Design-Thinking Approach to Library User Experience,” Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 1, no. 5 (2016).

[19] Cinthya Ippolitti. “Research as Design—Design as Research: Applying Design Thinking to Data Management Needs Assessment,” Paper presented at The 2016 Library Assessment Conference: Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment, Arlington, VA, October 31–November 2, 2016. Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries.

[20] Linda Whang et al., “Understanding the Transfer Student Experience Using Design Thinking,” Reference Services Review 45, no. 2 (2017).

[21] Ingo Rauth, Lisa Carlgren, and Maria Elmquist, “Making It Happen: Legitimizing Design Thinking in Large Organizations,” Design Management Journal 9, no. 1 (October 1, 2014): 47–60.

[22] Johansson-Sköldberg, Woodilla, and Çetinkaya, “Design Thinking: Past, Present and Possible Futures.”

[23] James Woudhuysen, “The Craze for Design Thinking: Roots, A Critique, and toward an Alternative,” Design Principles & Practice: An International Journal 5, no. 6 (June 2011): 235–48.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Bruce Nussbaum, “Design Thinking Is A Failed Experiment. So What’s Next?,” Co.Design, April 5, 2011.

[26] Lee Gardner, “How Design Thinking Can Be Applied Across the Campus,”The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 10, 2017.


Posted on: February 3, 2018, 6:43 am Category: Uncategorized

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