Integral Design Thinking Approach

in design •  last year


Design Thinking from Stanford is a great framework to start from. At Integral we slightly modified it to clarify a core nuance about it.

Stanford University played a key role in bringing Design Thinking into mainstream.

Their Design Thinking model has served us well so far.

As with anything else, it has room for improvement and further development.

At Integral, we worked hard to round off this model to make it even more powerful.


Before we can embark on any Design Thinking activity, we need as clear an intent as possible.

Intent in design is like a purpose in a company.

It's the guiding light that keeps us focused on what we want to achieve.

Defining a clear intent is very important to start off a Design Thinking iteration.


With our intension in place, we can now decide on what to do next.

Decisions are not straight forward at all.


Because humans tend to get stuck in cognitive dissonance which mentally paralyses.

This kind of a state of mind is something that many big corporations suffer from.

To decide is to move forward.

One way or another.

Moving forward leads to learning which leads to progress.

The Rest Of The Model

We find that the rest of the Design Thinking model from Stanford works very well.

So we kept it as is.

The main difference with our approach is that we imply circularity by default.

This means that Design Thinking loops are there to repeat.

It is a rare circumstance that we anyone gets to a perfect solution in one pass.

Iterations need to happen.

Like in other approaches to development, such as Agile, iteration is a good thing.

It is our friend.

So it is important to iterate in design too.

After we test, we have an important task to Decide once again what to do.

Whether to do another Design Thinking loop on our Intent or whether to move onto another Intent.

Either way, it will keep us moving forward and help us progress and grow.

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Great post! Understanding your intent and then making your decisions from there is a very good way to invent and think in general! Thanks for sharing this!


Yes, designers invent with a purpose, not randomly, which is how designers differ from general inventors as such. So intent is the starting point.