• Mercè Bonjorn Dalmau

Relevant research literature in design thinking

Nowadays, talking about design thinking in business is increasingly usual. And it is not surprising given design’s role in how we approach addressing present and future directions in our digital world. However, many business professionals experience confusion and frustration when participating in implementation projects of design thinking for the first time.

This annotated bibliography is an initial attempt to pull together sources when we need to understand design thinking as an approach, a mindset, and/or a process for addressing complex messy problems in the business world focused on the user/patient/customer

This document provides relevant literature in design thinking in business research.

This research-post is part of the literature resources that I am using in my PhD about developing Service Innovation through Design Thinking in eHealth environment

It is an incomplete bibliography, purposefully so, the bibliography itself is a work of design-in-progress. I encourage the readers to complement the research list through the comments.

General understanding of Design Thinking:

  • Cross, N. (2011). Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work. Berg Publishers.

  • Dalsgaard, P. (2014). Pragmatism and design thinking. International Journal of Design, 8(1).

  • Gardner, L. (2017). Can design thinking redesign higher ed? The Chronicle of Higher Education.

  • Glen, R., Suciu, C., Baughn, C. C., & Anson, R. (2015). Teaching design thinking in business schools. International Journal of Management Education, 13(2), 182–192.

  • Johansson-Sköldberg, U., Woodilla, J., & Çetinkaya, M. (2013). Design thinking: Past, present and possible futures. Creativity and Innovation Management, 22(2), 121–146.

  • Brennen, Walter; Uebernickel, Falk & Abrell, T. (2016). Design Thinking as Mindset, Process, and Toolbox. Experiences from Research and Teaching at the University of St. Gallen. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 3–21.

Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

Popular Design Thinking readings

Books, papers and articles in this section are widely used introductions to design thinking in terms of creativity, process, and innovation. The books by Tim Brown and the Kelley brothers articulate the model and rely heavily on anecdotal tales of organizational change and product and service innovations.

  • Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. HarperCollins: New Work.

  • Cross, N. (2011). Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work. Bloomsbury: London.

  • Harvard Business Review. (2015). The Evolution of Design Thinking.

  • Kelley, T., & Kelley, D. (2013). Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential in Us All. Crown Business: New York.

  • Liedtka, J., King, A., & Bennett, K. (2013). Solving Problems with Design Thinking: 10 Stories of What Works. Columbia University Press: New York.

  • Liedtka, J., Salzman, R., & Azer, D. (2017). Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector. Columbia University Press: New York.

  • Martin, R. (2009). The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. Harvard Business Review Press: Cambridge, MA.

Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

Related with service innovation implementation or new service development:

  • Beltagui, A. (2018). A design-thinking perspective on capability development. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 38(4), IJOPM-11-2016-0661.

  • Kleinsmann, M., Valkenburg, R., & Sluijs, J. (2017). Capturing the Value of Design Thinking in Different Innovation Practices. International Journal of Design, 11(2), 25–40.'

  • Kolko, J. (2015). Design thinking comes of age. Harvard Business Review.

  • Liedtka, J. & Kaplan, S. (2019). How design thinking opens new frontiers for strategy development. Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 47 Issue: 2.

  • Liedtka, J. (2014). Innovative ways companies are using design thinking. Strategy & Leadership.

  • Meinel, C., & Leifer, L. (2012). Design Thinking Research. Understanding Innovation.

  • Micheli, P., Wilner, S. J. S., Bhatti, S., Mura, M., Beverland, M. B., & Laurier, W. (2018). Doing Design Thinking: Conceptual Review, Synthesis and Research Agenda. Journal of Product Innovation Management - Wiley Online Library, 0–1.

  • Prud´Homme van Reine, P. (2017). The culture of design thinking for innovation. Journal of Innovation Management, 2, 56–80.

  • Razzouk, R., & Shute, V. (2012). What Is Design Thinking and Why Is It Important? Review of Educational Research, 82(3), 330–348.

  • Russo, S. Di. (2016). Understanding the behaviour of design thinking in complex environments. Thesis.

  • Rylander, B. A. (2009). Design Thinking as Knowledge Work: Epistemological Foundations and Practical Implications Constructions of Knowledge Work and Knowledge-Intensive Firms. Design Management Journal, 7-19, 1–20

  • Weber, H., Cruz-Rodríguez, A., & Mateus, A. (2017). Changing Mindsets in Design Thinking. In Design Doctoral Conference 2017. IADE Doctoral Conference.

Related to the use of design thinking in services/service design thinking:

  • Clatworthy, S. (2018). Service design thinking. In Innovating for Trust Edited by Marika Lüders, Tor W. Andreassen, Simon Clatworthy and Tore Hillestad.

  • Dalsgaard, P. (2014). Pragmatism and design thinking. International Journal of Design, 8(1).

  • Patrício, L., Gustafsson, A., & Fisk, R. (2018). Upframing Service Design and Innovation for Research Impact. Journal of Service Research, 21(1), 3–16.

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

Related to the use of design thinking in agile methods:

  • Gurusamy, K., Srinivasaraghavan, N., & Adikari, S. (2016). An Integrated Framework for Design Thinking and Agile Methods for Digital Transformation an Integrated Framework for Design Thinking and Agile. Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

  • Kowark, T., Kru, J., Vetterli, C., & Uflacker, M. (2015). DT@Scrum: Integrating Design Thinking with Software Development Processes. Design Thinking Research, Understanding Innovation. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 263–289.

  • Vianna, M., & Vianna, Y. (2018). Design Thinking and Scrum in the context of digital transformation. MJV technology and innovation Report.

About experiences with papers published in healthcare:

  • Bazzano, A. N., Martin, J., Hicks, E., Faughnan, M., & Murphy, L. (2017). Human-centred design in global health: A scoping review of applications and contexts. PLoS ONE, 12(11), 1–25.

  • Compton-Phillips, A., & Seth Mohta, N. (2018). Care Redesign Survey How Design Thinking Can Transform Health Care. The New England Journal of Medicine: Leading the Transformation of Health Care Delivery — The Launch of NEJM Catalyst, June.

  • Cox, M. (2015). Design Thinking in Healthcare. Design for the 21st Century University of Sussex Product Design.

  • Eines, Trude Fløystad, S. V. (2017). Nurses and nurse assistants’ experiences with using a design thinking approach to innovation in a nursing home. Wiley, (August), 425–431.

  • Ferreira, F. K., Song, E. H., Gomes, H., Garcia, E. B., & Ferreira, L. M. (2015). A new mindset in the scientific method in the health field: Design Thinking. Clinics, 770–772.

  • Roberts, J. P., Fisher, T. R., Trowbridge, M. J., & Bent, C. (2016). A design thinking framework for healthcare management and innovation. Healthcare, 4(1), 11–14.

  • Vinsel, L. (2017). Design Thinking is Kind of Like Syphilis — It’s Contagious and Rots Your Brains. Available from in Medium.

I hope this list of good references on design thinking in research and related topics is useful and can complement it with your contributions.

Your thoughts and complemented literature are more than welcome, so feel free to comment on this post or drop me an email to

#catchitn #H2020 #EU #research #SDU #designthinking #literature #innovation #PhD #ESR #MSCA #business #Salumedia

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