Design Thinking is not what most think it is…

Design Thinking is invaluable for event organisers because it brings a user-focused, creative, and integrated approach to the event planning process, ultimately resulting in more engaging, more memorable, and more successful events.

In our previous blog we covered what Design Thinking is, the key principles and steps to applying the approach to event planning. In this article we tackle the common misconceptions people have regarding Design Thinking as we outline what Design Thinking is not.

Understanding these misconceptions and the true nature of Design Thinking can help event organisers apply the methodology more effectively.

What Design Thinking is NOT:

1) Design think is not only about design and aesthetics

While aesthetics can be a part of it, Design Thinking is more about the overall experience, including the flow of activities, engagement, and how attendees interact with the event.

2) It’s not only for designers:

Some people believe that Design Thinking is a practice reserved for professional designers. In reality, it’s a methodology that can be applied by anyone involved in event planning, including organisers, marketers, and even attendees who provide feedback.

3) It’s not a linear process

Design Thinking is often wrongly seen as a strictly linear process with defined stages that must be followed in a set order. In reality, it’s a flexible framework that encourages iteration and may involve revisiting and revising earlier stages as new insights emerge.

4) It’s not time-consuming

There is a misconception that Design Thinking is a time-consuming process that can’t be integrated into the tight timelines of event planning. While it can be thorough, Design Thinking principles can be adapted to various timeframes, and some Design Thinking techniques can be implemented quickly.

5) Design thinking is not expensive

Another misconception is that implementing Design Thinking requires a significant budget for research, prototyping, and testing. While some aspects may involve costs, Design Thinking often leads to more efficient and cost-effective solutions by identifying and addressing issues early in the planning process.

6) It’s not all about technology

In the digital age, there’s a misconception that Design Thinking always involves incorporating the latest technology into an event. While technology can enhance events, Design Thinking is not exclusively about technology. It’s about finding solutions that address attendees’ needs and challenges, which may or may not involve technology.

7) Design Thinking is not a ‘one-size fits all’

Some believe that a single Design Thinking approach can be applied to all events. In reality, Design Thinking should be tailored to the specific goals, audience, and context of each event. What works for a corporate conference may not be suitable for a music festival, for example.

8) Design Thinking cannot solve every problem

Design Thinking is a powerful approach, but it may not be the best fit for every problem or challenge an event organiser faces. It’s essential to understand when to use Design Thinking and when to consider other problem-solving methods. 

9) It’s not a guarantees of sucess

While Design Thinking can lead to more effective and engaging events, it doesn’t guarantee automatic success. Success also depends on factors like planning, execution, marketing, and external factors. Design Thinking is a tool that helps improve the odds of success but doesn’t eliminate all risk.

10) Design Thinking is not static and unchanging

Events are dynamic, and attendee needs and preferences can change. A misconception is that Design Thinking results are static and unchanging. In reality, successful event organizers use Design Thinking iteratively, adjusting based on feedback and evolving trends.

Understanding these misconceptions and the true nature of Design Thinking can help event organisers apply the methodology effectively to create more engaging and successful events.


  • Fantastic read! I was especially impressed by the depth provided on the topic, offering a perspective I hadn’t considered. Your insight adds significant value to the conversation. For future articles, it would be fascinating to explore more to dive deeper into this subject. Could you also clarify more about the topic? It caught my interest, and I’d love to understand more about it. Keep up the excellent work!

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