On Design Thinking, Bullshit, and Innovation

Rodrigo Hernández-Ramírez



Design thinking (DT) has been widely promoted as a powerful approach for systematically achieving innovation, particularly in the world of management. Recently, however, some critical voices from design and science & technology studies have called bullshit on DT, accusing it instead of distorting and trivialising design methods and processes to serve purely commercial goals. Through an analysis of the recent history of design research and an overview of some (philosophical) accounts on the concept of “bullshit”, this paper shows that at least some of the criticism holds. However, it argues that a truly fruitful critique of DT needs to go beyond simple derision. Ultimately, this paper suggests that perhaps we should steer away from the idea that there is a designerly way of thinking, and focus instead on showing how designers, being “doers”, create maker’s knowledge. Designers, educators, managers, and anyone interested in understanding why design goes beyond a simple methodology perhaps might be interested in this account.


Design thinking; Design methodology; Bullshit; Innovation; Maker’s knowledge; Philosophy of design.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7559/citarj.v10i3.555


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