Bryan Taylor

Thinking About Design Thinking 3: We’re All Designing Some Kind of Solutions

If we are going to broaden our definition of “designer,” I’d like to lobby for even more inclusion.

As the group of those who call themselves designers grows beyond visual applications, now including those who practice design thinking to accomplish their work, I find that we should probably also apply the term to a handful of others, like detectives, teachers, doctors, social workers, counselors, and, probably, just about everyone not working on an assembly line.

The process that a detective-designer goes through to solve a crime is not all that different than a service designer. Both have problems to solve using a limited amount of information, starting with big ideas, requiring theories to be tested quickly, and connections to be made to pull the whole puzzle together into a tidy solution. The same could be said of teacher-designers trying to get through to kids, or doctor-designers trying to diagnose ailments, or social worker-designers searching for solutions with few resources, or counselor-designers trying to help untangle confusion and pain.

While I am wary of the designer term becoming diluted, I feel like there is a good argument to be made as to why so many other vocational titles could appropriately adopt this growing "designer" designation.