The first interpretation has been described by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, at a TED lecture, though his blog also considers the second interpretation.
The limits of the first kind of design thinking in business are also being explored. Not all problems yield to design thinking alone, where it may be a “temporary fix”. Design thinking companies including IDEO and Sense Worldwide are responding to this by building business thinking capabilities.
Tim Brown has argued that design thinking is now widely, but sporadically, used in business. He argues that competitive advantage comes from sustained use of design thinking, from becoming “masters of the art.”(Harvard Business Review)
In organization and management theory, design thinking forms part of the Architecture/Design/Anthropology (A/D/A) paradigm, which characterizes innovative, human-centered enterprises. This paradigm also focuses on a collaborative and iterative style of work and an abductive mode of thinking, compared to practices associated with the more traditional Mathematics/Economics/Psychology (M/E/P) management paradigm (Andrew Jones, 2008). The Innovation Acid Test. Axminster: Triarchy Press. p. 20.).
A study by the London Business School (John Howkins, 2003) found that for every percent of sales invested in product design, profits rose by an average of 3 to 4 percent.