Using Design Thinking to Respond to Crises: B2B Lessons From the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

Pinar Cankurtaran, Michael Beverland

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We examine the value of design thinking in times of crisis. Drawing on examples of firm innovations during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, we propose that disruptive events represent wicked problems that require managers to break out of established patterns of thinking. Design thinking, or the problem solving approaches and tools of designers, represents one such approach. Drawing on extant research, we identify a three-stage process of design thinking: disrupt, develop and deliver, and transform. We examine each stage, identifying how careful disruptive thinking with a focus on understanding problems within their context can give rise to innovative solutions, resulting in a more resilient organisation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue numberJuly
Pages (from-to)255-260
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Design thinking
  • Wicked problems
  • Crisis management
  • B2B
  • Innovation

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