Lukas Bosch

Design Thinking + Innovation Facilitator & Coach

Design Sinking: How to Fail at Design Thinking – And How to Do It Better

Design Thinking is ubiquitous these days.

From developing new payment processes for car parks to optimizing the patient experience in public hospitals, from designing blockchain scenarios for savings banks to improving the employee experience at tech start-ups, from building intrapreneurial ventures for mobility providers to designing business models for aircraft parts logistics, from large-scale digital transformation campaigns on enterprise level to designing whole strategies of start-ups, SMEs and major corporations alike... Looking back to the last years as an innovation consultant and facilitator, the list could go on and on.

Browsing all those cases one might easily get the impression that Design Thinking is some kind of “magic wand” to just do it all – better, faster, cheaper and of course instantly ready for implementation, with a 100% guaranteed success rate. Germans would call it a “Eierlegende Wollmilchsau” (engl. fig. “egg laying wool-milk-pig”).

Of course, it is not.

Nevertheless, it has undoubtedly proven to be a highly important tool to master the transformations we’re facing on so many levels. In its essence, Design Thinking is simple but not easy. And even though it is not especially new in itself, it’s quite a challenge for individuals and organizations alike to really adopt and adapt to Design Thinking. While failing (as a matter of radical learning) is one of the core components of the approach, it should only apply to the project’s subject matter and not the methodological application or implementation of Design Thinking itself.

This talk focuses on the sometimes-fine line between Design Thinking and ‘Design Sinking.’ Based on real life project examples, we will uncover stories of failing with Design Thinking – on various dimensions, from individual to enterprise level – and distill the key learnings.

If you want to grasp some of the major hurdles, pitfalls, and tempting but dooming shortcuts and how to avoid them, this talk is for you!



As consultant, moderator, trainer, and lecturer, Lukas Y. Bosch facilitates innovation teams and projects. Combining his studies in Anthropology, Rhetorics (Tübingen University), Design Thinking (Hasso Plattner Institute, D-School) and several years of experience in strategic management and technology consulting, he merges customer centricity, business value and technological feasibility in method- and team-based approaches. Projects range from the development of products, services, processes, business models, and strategies to implementing Design Thinking for cultural transformation.