The term "Design Thinking" was coined by IDEO’s David Kelley. The term refers to a set of principles, from mindset to process, that can be applied to solve complex problems. Not just problems of product design but finding design solutions that deal with the big issues including health, poverty and education. Design thinking has been highly praised and also roundly attacked and in recent times has become a topic of much debate.
I recently read a blog by Venessa Meimis that for me at least, puts the whole debate in context in her defence of Tim Brown's book on the topic "Change by Design"
To quote from Vanessa Meimis's piece "What is Design Thinking, Really";
He (Tim Brown) actually repeats many times throughout the book that there needs to be a combination of the intuitive/emotional with the rational/analytic, a “balance of management’s legitmate requirement for stability, efficiency, and predictability with the design thinker’s need for spontaneity, serendipity, and experimentation.” If anything, he’s calling for a holistic interdisciplinary approach to business that breaks down the rigid silos of standard organizational structure that, in its very design, impedes creativity, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and in turn, innovation.
However you judge Design Thinking, what Meimis says here is surely at the heart of the problem in a broad range of design challenges, and the lack of understanding of the need for this interdisciplinary approach is the cause of much frustration suffered by designers. Overcome the misunderstanding and you're well on the way to solving the design problems however you label the process of solving them.