June 15

What is Design Thinking?

Phillip Oakley

We at Common Giant pride ourselves in our ability to think outside the box. Our diverse backgrounds and skill sets blend together, creating a team of Giants who are not so common. There’s a mutual trait amongst us though; we utilize design thinking. What exactly is design thinking? Design thinking is taking a divergent approach to challenges that arise by creating choices instead of picking what’s currently available. It’s exploring creative solutions to problems instead of following the beaten path. One unique aspect to design thinking is anyone can follow this strategy. You don’t have to be a designer to uncover creative solutions; you need only see the problem from all angles and be open to all possibilities. This way of thinking is how we achieve success not only for our partners, but for ourselves too.

When partners approach us with their needs, our whole team collaborates to identify solutions that may not have been considered by individuals. It’s not unusual for a graphic designer to critique written copy or for someone account-side to propose an idea the creative team hadn’t considered. This is design thinking in action, where we proactively involve everyone to generate unique solutions for our partners. We make sure we understand the context and message our partners are trying to deliver before going to the drawing board. Once we grasp the message, we utilize everyone’s strengths to create customized solutions; none of our partners are the same, so they shouldn’t be given work that comes from a proverbial cookie cutter. They deserve a tailored plan of action and not a generic, one-size-fits-all proposal. That’s the old way of doing business and isn’t the way we conduct ourselves.

In short, design thinking’s a vital tool in keeping creativity pure. A line from Neil Gaiman’s award-winning book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, explains it clearly: “Adults follow paths. Children explore.” He’s saying we become conditioned to follow others and their ideas instead of searching for unique solutions ourselves. Common Giant explores, tests, and thinks without constraints. This dedication to creativity grows every day, and we’re excited to share it with you.