Daniel Miller

In Defense of Design Thinking

I’ve had this article on my blog Trello board for some time, but hadn’t managed to post it. It was, as is often the case, a problem of the entire article being really good, and not knowing which parts to quote or capture for my future self. I’ve gone with a large chunk of the introduction.

In Defense of Design Thinking, Which Is Terrible

Before I dive too far into design thinking though, I want to talk first about technology, coding and engineering. You can’t talk about design without talking about these things…

If you’ve ever tried to learn how to code and you weren’t trained in a computer science program at college, you know that there’s still no shortage of educational resources out there for you…

“Everyone Can Code” is an interesting idea. The implication is that there will be a lot of good code out there, but it also implies that there will be a lot of bad code too. In a world where everyone can code, not all code will be good. There will be bad code, in fact.

It’s worth noting though that engineering as a discipline, as a trade, as a profession is largely unthreatened by the idea of bad code. In fact, you could say that the prevalence of bad code has been a boon to the world of engineering. In spite of all the bad code being written out there, the discipline is thriving.

This is due in part to the fact that engineering has come to be widely distributed. It’s everywhere now, in everything, and that has helped establish a cultural comfort with engineering, with its tools and, importantly, with its vernacular…

In fact, you could say that bad engineering, just like good engineering, has helped turn technology into the most powerful force for change in the 21st century. Engineering has been incredibly democratized and it’s been good for engineers. Today’s engineers are in greater demand than ever.

And yet design—and designers—seem perpetually threatened by democratization. I’ve been a designer for two and a half decades and I’ve seen this again and again…

…read the entire thing… (or watch it)

375 words