Suppose you’re completely new to the concept of design thinking. If so, it’s a method that more teams and organizations have discovered to be extremely effective when it comes to productive collaboration and brainstorming. Design thinking takes a hands-on approach to prototyping and testing, which can help businesses address challenges, understand customers, and create new ideas. 

If you’ve always wanted to learn about design thinking or brush up on what you already know, this guide rounds up some of the best design thinking books that were published recently. As you put together your reading list for the upcoming year, consider some of the following if you’re looking to learn more about design thinking:

Author(s): Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, Larry Leifer 

Date of publication: April 2020

What makes this one of the best design thinking books? Following the international bestseller The Design Thinking Playbook, this book explains how to put the most important design thinking aspects into action. This book uses visuals to help illustrate what they teach readers, including images and templates.

What you’ll learn in a nutshell: Readers are introduced to new avenues of thinking, design thinking tools, practical application tips, design thinking workshop planning, warm-ups and methods, and other design thinking techniques.

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2. Design Thinking for Training and Development

Author(s): Sharon Boller, Laura Fletcher

Date of publication: June 2020

What makes this one of the best design thinking books: This book explains design thinking to readers to help them focus on the core concepts of design thinking and how to use the right techniques when they matter the most. It emphasizes user experience and how to make design thinking as useful as possible.

What you’ll learn in a nutshell: Readers learn how to use design thinking for refining problems, implementation, gaining perspective, developing and testing, and through the prototype process.

3. Rethinking Design Thinking: Making Sense of the Future That Has Already Arrived (NextD Futures)

Author(s): GK VanPatter, plus contributions from Elizabeth Pastor and Peter Jones 

Date of publication: March 2020

What makes this one of the best design thinking books: This book challenges the traditional way that design thinking is approached, and addresses innovation and changes, and connects both theory and practice. Readers learn about different ways to approach design thinking, but they also learn about the comprehensive history of design thinking.

What you’ll learn in a nutshell: Readers learn all about adaptive methods, dealing with challenges regarding design thinking, and how to go beyond the assumptions of product, service, and experience creation.

4. The Design Thinking Quick Start Guide: A 6-Step Process for Generating and Implementing Creative Solutions, 1st Edition

Author(s): Isabell Osann, Lena Mayer, and Inga Wiele 

Date of publication: February 2020

What makes this one of the best design thinking books: This book simplifies the concept of design thinking by breaking it down into a six-step process, enabling teams to tap into their creativity more efficiently. Readers can also practice what they learn through hands-on activities.

What you’ll learn in a nutshell: Readers learn how to generate new ideas and improve their team leading skills, how to use checklists for brainstorming and implementation, and the 6-3-5 method of brainstorming, which can help teams maximize their time and get the best results from brainstorming sessions. 

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5. Design Thinking in Play: An Action Guide for Educators

Author(s): Alyssa Gallagher, Kami Thordarson

Date of publication: April 2020

What makes this one of the best design thinking books is that design thinking works for a wide range of industries and professions, including education. For those specifically working in education and looking to expand their knowledge on design thinking, this book is the optimal selection. This book helps readers understand how to overcome specific challenges, and it also includes 25 downloadable and reproducible tools that can benefit entire education teams and their students.

What you’ll learn in a nutshell: Readers will learn how to explore more complex issues, maximize brainstorming sessions, effectively organize and analyze feedback, and how to take action while also having fun throughout the process.

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6. Design Thinking For Dummies, 1st Edition

Author(s): Muller-Roterberg

Date of publication: July 2020

What makes this one of the best design thinking books: This book is the perfect first step toward learning the foundations of design thinking. If you’re new to the concept of design thinking, this book will help you learn the basics, and how the fundamentals of design thinking can be beneficial in just about every industry. 

What you’ll learn in a nutshell: Readers will learn how to implement solutions, build creative environments, apply design thinking to business, and facilitate design thinking workshops. Overall, readers learn how to transform their organization through design thinking.

7. Design Thinking: The Handbook

Author(s): Falk Uebernickel, Li Jiang, Walter Brenner, Britta Pukall, Therese Naef, Bernhard Schindlholzer 

Date of publication: August 2020

What makes this one of the best design thinking books: This book is another option that is great for those just learning about design thinking. It is divided into two parts, with the first part introducing the basics of design thinking and what this approach entails. Once readers learn the basics through part one, part two provides a step-by-step guide for practically applying design thinking methods.

What you’ll learn in a nutshell: The basics of design thinking, as well as the opportunity to review sample cases that demonstrate different ways to implement design thinking techniques.

Wrapping Up

While picking up any (or all) of these design thinking books for 2021 is a great way to familiarize yourself and learn more about design thinking, the ultimate way to complete your learning experience is to enroll in Simplilearn’s online design thinking course. Although you can learn a substantial amount of information through these books, an online learning program is the best way to practice what you’ve learned through hands-on learning. Upon completion, you can also have the opportunity to become certified, which is a highly coveted credential in this competitive job market. Learn more about Simplilearn’s Design Thinking Certification Training Course and enroll today!

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