Design Thinking in Practice



By Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP

Mexico City, Mexico

We all have experienced technological changes. Sometimes as users of the new technical items, occasionally only as spectators amazed at what the future could look like. And other times, viewing the changes without even noticing them.

Everybody can relate a time when going to the local store was an adventure to buy small stuff or something that we run out as an emergency. When time passed, small stores transformed into big stores where everything was there for us. Looking at the showcases was delightful, trying one thing and another and of course the typical seasonal discounts! Back then, making the line to make the payment was something healthy, nowadays almost impossible! More than that, who shops in a store anymore when everything could be accessible from the internet!

Looking into the retail industry, we can be a witness to the current changes in shopping on-line instead of going to the store, among other probably not that evident changes. Things like that are the result of applying efficient thinking and shifting paradigms into design thinking. In this paper, we will refer to the challenges and changes the retail industry has faced in recent years; some of those changes came out as a result of design thinking.

  1. Design Thinking or Efficient Thinking

Design thinking is a concept that is becoming in vogue in business and organizational environments. Hand to hand with innovation are tools used by organizations and teams to grow disruptive. Even when design thinking is not a new concept, its relevance has increased in the latest years.

Design thinking becomes a reality taking the designer’s abilities to match human needs into available technical resources. This approach is more human-centered rather than process or efficiency-oriented aspects. Design thinking has appeared as opposition to efficient thinking, searching for ways of innovating. Efficient thinking was originated from the industrial revolution as a way of handle production, industrial efficiencies, work measurement, standardization, delineation, management of tasks, and the piecework concept; and organizational behavior. All these concepts are meant to improve productivity, business as usual but not for innovating.

Brown says that design thinking relies on the ability to be intuitive, recognize patterns, construct ideas, and have emotional meaning as well as functionality to express oneself using other media rather than words or symbols. By contrast to rational thinking or efficient thinking against the design thinking approach, the first two are more rationally analytic approaches that have developed out of the management, engineering, and marketing literature is what Beckman and Barry have said.

Being used more and more to find a middle point into total intuition and feelings or only analytical and numbers-based. Design thinking comes out as the central point to bring innovation into an organization focusing on the business needs and the customer’s point of view into consideration and not only focusing on product or service focal points.

  1. The balance between Analysis and Synthesis

Analysis and Synthesis are critical elements as part of the design thinking process as an approach in finding new solutions to old problems; the mental process is involved and must be balanced. Brown mentioned that convergent, divergent, analysis and Synthesis are required to be able to obtain the benefits of design thinking. This process could be seeing something like this. An organization phase lost of customers. In consequence, decreasing their income, the directors get together and start reviewing problems, numbers, figures, charts, or all sorts of reports and analytical elements to discover where the problem is.


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How to cite this article: Larios, A. (2020).  Design Thinking in Practice, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue IV, April. Available online at  https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/pmwj104-Apr2021-Larios-design-thinking-in-practice-advisory.pdf


About the Author

Angelica Larios

Mexico City, Mexico


Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP, is a project manager with more than 20 years of experience in implementing software projects related to business intelligence, planning and budgeting, and financial consolidation solutions based on software applications to support the business decision process. She is the owner of ALACONTEC, an I.T. consulting company founded in Latin America. She has held several professional positions in private and public organizations, such as the Health Ministry in Mexico as I.T. director, and as a business manager for several firms in Mexico.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from National University of Mexico (UNAM) in addition to her studies in project management and her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, which have helped her to consolidate her career and have a better understanding of what businesses and projects need nowadays. She is a doctoral student in strategic leadership at Regent University, VA, USA; she is a PMI volunteer since 2007 starting in the local Mexico chapter, being Past President and and currently serves on the Board Volunteer Advisory Committee (BVAC) that supports the PMI Board of Directors (2016–2018).

Angelica can be contacted at angelica.larios@gmail.com

To view other works by Angelica Larios, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/angelica-larios/.