Bringing design thinking to information technology

'Design is more than just creativity, or a phase in creating a product, service, or application. It’s a way of thinking that can transform an entire enterprise.'

It's time for a fresh approach to the way IT systems are designed, as well as a fresh approach to solving business problems.

That's the view of Nelson Kunkel, director with Deloitte Consulting LLP, who explained in a recently published video that design thinking is increasingly becoming part of enterprise IT. Design thinking is flourishing as part of industrial design and architecture, but many IT leaders are recognizing that well-designed systems can deliver improved performance in the IT sphere as well.

"We're seeing design as a way of thinking, we're seeing design as a process that can be shared ... to make what the enterprise produces much better for the people who use them," said Kunkel.

The consumerization of IT has raised user expectations for simpler, well-designed interfaces to enterprise applications as well. Design thinking needs to go deeper than the user interface layer. This extends from "the application of the visual layer down through the application layer and into the functionality of the systems and the tools that we create", he said.

In a related article, Kunkle provided a blueprint for moving to design thinking, which is based on multidisciplinary teams from across the enterprise.

As an example of design thinking in IT, Kunkel said that the act of walking into an airport and checking into a flight should ultimately happen automatically and seamlessly, without the need to constantly log into systems, such as smartphones and kiosks. "The ultimate design is simple. It's the pursuit of transparency. The ultimate design just works."

For those who want to learn more about design thinking, Stanford's School of Design has posted a 90-minute "Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking".