Design Thinking Scorecard

A Holistic Theoretical Framework for Assessing the Impact of Design Thinking

PI: Dr. Claudia Nicolai, Professor Ulrich Weinberg


The impact of Design Thinking is widely discussed, yet under-researched. Current research is fragmented, rather descriptive, and typically focuses on particular effects or elements, and builds quite often on single case studies or other qualitative methods. Thus, a common understanding of impact within a conceptual framework from an integrative perspective leading to purposefully designed quantitative measurement metrics are missing, yet needed to assess the impact of Design Thinking in a holistic and comparable manner.
The purpose of this project is to investigate what impact Design Thinking has on individuals, teams, and organization as well as how we can measure this impact and determining factors. We propose and outline three steps:
First, we aim to develop a holistic theoretical framework assessing the impact of Design Thinking (‘Design Thinking Scorecard’) that integrates the relevant dimensions, which allows then, second, to develop and apply a multi-dimensional measurement instrument. Third, we would like to investigate, how and in what way key factors of the impact can be influenced through training. This proposal focusses on the first step. In particular, we propose a screening of existing research and the identification of gaps, conducting an extensive literature review, and expert interviews with qualitative analyses to derive and validate a Design Thinking Scorecard as a theoretical framework for Design Thinking impact. We seek to measure this impact quantitatively as a follow-up project.
As a result, practitioners gain more reliable arguments for implementing Design Thinking and evaluating it. Researchers receive a theoretical model that allows further research to map into this model and allows for comparability and further in-depth investigations. As a community, our existing research is summarized and made easily accessible through an umbrella model.