Data + Design: Conceptualizing the Approach of Integrating Data Science and Design Thinking at Design Consultancies

Lucas Gottfried Maria Engels & Christof Marcel Kiefer

Student thesis: Master thesis


Design Thinking has become a popular approach for organizations to innovate and create a competitive advantage. In the last decades, design consultancies have played an important role in popularizing the methodology in the business sector and beyond. The digitalization of an increasing part of our lives, and the thereof resulting availability of new data sources, has led to the opportunity for design consultancies to augment their traditional practice by drawing upon new data insights. The goal of this study was to identify the different components of the integration of Design Thinking and data science in the practice of design consultancies, in order to conceptualize a preliminary framework of this approach. Therefore, a qualitative, exploratory research was conducted on the basis of Grounded Theory Methodology. The study contributes to the existing research on Design Thinking by mapping out how design consultancies can augment their traditional Design Thinking approach through the integration of data science capabilities in Data + Design. The findings indicate that Data + Design can extend the possibilities for organizations to innovate at the intersection of what is desired from a human perspective, what is technological feasible, and what is viable for the business. Data + Design therefore signifies a resource for design consultancies to create a competitive advantage by enabling new user experiences and opening new market segments for their services. Design consultancies can leverage the opportunity of Data + Design by building out their data analytics capabilities. They must actively foster true collaborations between data specialists and designers within their multidisciplinary teams. From a societal perspective, the main challenge of this new approach is to account for data privacy concerns

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages222
SupervisorsStefan Meisiek