The Shortcomings of Design Thinking when Compared to Designerly Thinking

Linda Nhu Laursen, Louise Møller Haase*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper contributes by clearly identifying the shortcoming of design thinking as well as pinpointing where to begin in terms of achieving a more solid conceptualization of the concept. To identify its potential shortcomings, this study examines the theoretical structure of design thinking and compares it to the theoretical structure of designerly thinking. This comparison suggests that the current conceptualization of design thinking lacks methodological approaches, that is, guidelines concerning how best to approach a given problem and how to competently select, configure, apply and evaluate the tools and techniques needed to tackle that problem. In its present form, design thinking facilitates the general, non-situated application of tools and techniques, which is neither linked to nor anchored in a design paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDesign Journal
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)813-832
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019


  • design thinking
  • designerly thinking
  • methodological approaches
  • situated actions


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