Image Copyrighted by Skischule Gerlos Total

In Design, or Design Thinking, creativity and imagination is where the pedal meets the metal or the rubber hits the road. If we can imagine it, it can be done. This is one of the key qualities that Design can offer to humanity. Based on user needs researched during problem discoveries, the ‘why’, we come up with a design brief and ideate multiple possible futures of the ‘what’, and ‘how’ are we going to get there. Once we decide on the best one, we make it happen. Today, I’m not going to talk about the ‘why’, or the ‘how’, but…

In this difficult time, I found it paramount to share with you, designers, the message I’ve got from the consciousness. This message is very much in line with the overall Design Thinking concept, philosophy and mindset. It is a direct experience with the Ultimate Consciousness, Truth and Bliss.

It’s been a while, perhaps a few months, since this happened and I don’t find myself comfortable sharing this as I can imagine people’s reactions knocking on their heads. So this requires a certain level of openness. Something which in Zen Buddhism would be called The Beginner’s Mind.

However, feeling obliged to…

Since high school, I’ve been fascinated with something, which by that time we called “The Spirit” which has been imported to The Czech Republic, my home country, by a British electronic music band — The Spiral Tribe in 1990s.

They were banned in the UK for a “serious breach of the peace” and chased out of the country because they were organising illegal rave parties. I was always puzzled by why would be the government of the Great Britain so concerned about a band of people playing music and dancing. …

Sometimes I keep myself busy thinking about what are the most influential experiences which have advanced my designer’s career in a deeper sense.

Among other things, I always think about these books, lessons and lectures which have profoundly changed my viewpoint on design, user experience, design thinking, or life, if you will.

Not only these pieces convey a similar message, which is paramount to “thinking differently or like a designer”, but these books can also help one advance in their lives to understand better their purpose, motivation and help oneself to feel better waking up every day, going to their…

Throughout my designer’s career I was always puzzled by what is it which makes the difference between successful innovative companies such as Google or Apple and the ones which failed, such as Nokia or Kodak.

Since I learned more about User Centred Design I came to understand that it’s this ‘thinking differently’ which grants a long term success. Nowadays, some people call it “Design Thinking”.

Unfortunately, there is so much noise around this topic, so that most people are unable to recognise the signal anymore which is to change the way we are accustomed to think.

But what do I…

Thistles look great, grow fast, don’t need much effort to take care of, they stay even after winter comes and sometimes we find them one year later slowly rotting in the fields or our gardens. Just like with assumptions. They pop-up like hiccups and they get dangerously engraved into our minds and are sometimes hard to remove.

Therefore, the purest form of Design Thinking applies an ancient Zen principle of the Beginner’s mind in order to chop off all those thistles right at the beginning of the process so that the cherry-trees of Design Thinking can be truly fruitful.

Assumption? What do you mean?


The purpose of this article is to discuss Emptiness, as the profound principle of Design Thinking — a popular method allowing humankind to solve business or social problems, which cannot be solved by traditional thinking approach.

As contrasted with other design or business methodologies, processes or philosophies, it is believed that Design Thinking employs a step-back principle which allows us to discover unmet, often latent human needs which users are unable to express. But how exactly are we going to discover something, which even our users or customers are unaware of?

Emptiness and its real meaning

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868–1912)…

Vladimír Korbel

Design Leader, Philosopher, Innovator & Alchemist @ Novartis

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