One year ago, I wrote an essay about the state of design thinking called The end of design thinking as we know it. In it, I philosophized about a shift that I saw happening in design thinking. A shift away from the one-day-bootcamp-anyone-can-do-this-magic-bullet towards a realization that it needs actual design skills to tackle complex projects. Recently a reader of that piece asked how I thought the situation was now, one year later, when it comes to design thinking. That’s an interesting question. As it turns out, design thinking is actually over the hill.

At first, I asked myself questions…


Sometimes you just need a label to take you to a next level of insight. A label can seem arbitrary but it can also be mind-opening. In the past I had this with the label Design Thinking. That label connected design and business consultancy in me. Two things that had lived in me. Two things that I sensed had something to do with each other but did not click. Once I found the label, or the label found me, a new door opened in my head. Two separate things in me merged into one. A defragmentation of sorts. The label…


My journey into the spiritual showed me that art and design are a great portal into the spiritual. In fact, my journey in art and design has defined what the spiritual is for me. I have also found that the spiritual can enrich my work in design exactly because they feel like a natural extension of each other.

For some years now, I have been deep diving into the spiritual. I can remember the exact moment I first started on this journey. At the time, I was studying engineering and was getting more and frustrated by the rational, scientific view of the world. At the time, I didn’t know where the frustration came from but now I know it was because it felt limiting. I was sitting in the common room of the student house I was living in. An interview with James Redfield was on the TV. He was talking about his book The Celestine Prophecy. This…


Maybe thinking in hierarchies, linear development, is the root of the problems we have today. Maybe we need to redesign our mental models to solve the wicked problems of our age. I am also guilty of thinking in hierarchies. Articles I wrote like What is at the top of the UX pyramid and How to get to the top of the UX pyramid are examples of hierarchical thinking. The UX pyramid is loosely based on the most famous pyramid of needs, the one from Maslow. It seems he himself did never present his needs in a pyramid form, but that…


The willingness to pay is an important concept in the evolution of design. There are all kinds of exiting new opportunities for design in the world today and one of the biggest factors that determines your success in this is the relationship you have with your clients. Your clients determine your growth path. Your client portfolio determines your potential. And one of the characteristics of clients, their willingness to pay, is crucial in this. Awareness of this concept allows you to manage your client portfolio more strategically and enables you to thrive.

Sometimes you come across a concept that immediately opens your mind, puts things in perspective and creates so much clarity. Problems that you have been struggling with for years suddenly become so clear that you wonder why you didn’t see this before. It makes things so simple and clear that your mind shifts. Maybe you need to walk the path of years of confusion and struggle to get to that peak of insight. Maybe the journey allows you to see this nugget of insight that others walk past. …


There is this weird thing with design. Design is a professional service that is performed by highly trained, skilled and experienced professionals. Design is a service that offers clear business value. But for some strange reason, some clients don’t want to pay for the work of designers. Not all clients fortunately but there is a substantial group of people who refuse to pay for the work that is done. They either demand free pitches, refuse to pay for additional work or complain extensively about the bills. From time to time I find myself in projects with management consultants and IT…


Last week, I was invited to participate as a field expert to be interviewed by students for the course with the name Cutting Edge Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the faculty of Industrial Design at the Technical University of Delft. In my work, I focus on design and innovation. The idea behind the course was that students are introduced to cutting edge theoretical concepts about organizations, mainly focussing on behavioral dynamics. Then they apply them to the reality of innovation projects. The idea is that the success of design in innovation largely depends on organizational change. That the success of…


What UI designers can learn from chatbots and video games

The other day, I was attending an online clinic on conversational design. In the announcement it said that conversational design is about getting the right information at the right time to the user. That, to me, is the goal of any interface. You can’t get more fundamental than that.

People have tasks, jobs to be done, and for that they need the right information at the right time. And the opportunity to take action based on that information. If I deconstruct any interface, there is information and action. We usually have different mental models in our heads when we think…


I love a good polarizing article on design just as much as any design blogger :) Yesterday, I came across this nice read by Jeff Davidson on how Design Sprints are absurd. It’s a great article and it points to a number of valid problems that the Design Sprint as a method has. Biggest point in case is that it’s mainly innovation theatre. I agree. The same goes for design thinking in general under which I put Design Sprints. Both are bandwagon hype terms. They both overpromise. They both create an image that design is easy and anyone can do it. They both try to make innovation look like a simple five step process.

The message that everyone can design is insulting to designers who have spent their lives honing their design skills. The speed of Design Sprints is insulting to design researchers who see their work reduced to half assed quick and dirty guesswork.

But the Design Sprint not about design as a craft. Design Sprints are about something else. Design sprints bring two wonderful things to the world.

  1. They enable design to step easier into a more strategic role.
  2. And they help revolutionize the way people work.

Both are landslide achievements.

Design becomes more strategic

Design sprints are populated by managers, decision makers, key stakeholders. Or…


I have a love-hate relationship with the UX of social media. I love how you can connect to people from all over the world, find like-minded people and have an extra channel to communicate with friends, family and other people you know. I can also discover interesting content that people I don’t know post. But the dark side of the UX of social media drives me away from time to time. There are many dark sides, but this time it’s the algorithms that turn me off.

As UX designers, we are constantly pushed to find ways to enhance engagement. The UX designers at Facebook, Twitter, Google are masters at their craft. They design their apps in such a way that people keep on spending more and more time in them. We all know of the biases and dark UX patterns that keep people glued to these apps. We also know that social media companies are taking steps towards well-being by recognizing the negative impact of too much time on social media. We also know that the distance these media create between people make people be more…

Dennis Hambeukers

Strategic UX Design Consultant @ Zuiderlicht / Design Leadership Forum Member @InVision / Design Thinker / State Secretary of Integration @ Ministry of Design

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