Design Thinking has grown steadily in importance since its conception by the design and innovation consultancy firm IDEO (Brown, 2009) and it seems that interest in this approach is constantly growing. Brown and Martin (2015) recently argued in the Harvard Business Review that Design Thinking has evolved from a method that focuses on physical objects to a method for multiple applications. Thus, Design Thinking, as a kind of meta-discipline for dealing with interdisciplinary problems, has reduced its connection to product design, for example, and is now perceived as a method for dealing with management problems in a way that designers would solve design problems (Dunne & Martin, 2006). 

While design thinking is becoming increasingly widespread in practice, two aspects are to be examined in this study: 

  1. Insights into the consumer world: The aim here is to critically question the extent to which the very time-consuming ethnographic approach to consumer understanding is effective or to what extent this approach can be replaced by an approach that is intended to serve as a vehicle for gaining knowledge in the consumer world on cultural products. The study is intended to create an empirical basis for this discussion and, in particular, to examine which approaches are used in practice. 
  2. Dealing with the future: The question is raised to what extent Design Thinking, a decided approach to dealing with the future, is required for future-oriented questions in order to take account of this different nature of the question. Here, too, an empirical study is intended to show current practice. 

Project responsibility: Prof. Dr. Jan Oliver Schwarz