Design Thinking + DC: What Google Searches Can Tell Us

 Photo by Daniel Lombardi

Photo by Daniel Lombardi

Five years ago, my Google search for "design thinking and DC" only turned up one real hit. I had hoped to find more but  held on to a small glimmer of hope when it pointed me to a company on U Street. I lived only a few blocks away so I ran over to check it out.  My heart sank when I arrived at the address and saw that everything was boarded up and there was nobody in sight. This experience became a great metaphor for my hope of finding like-minded people in this town around innovation and design thinking.

Fast-forward to today. The Design Thinking DC (DT:DC) meetup group has over 900 members and events that sell out in 24 hours. A Google search, today, for the same search terms returns not only info related to the DT:DC meetup, but now also includes the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) new innovation space as well as partnerships between IDEO and government agencies from the Social Security Administration to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. All these agencies are using a design thinking methodology for problem solving... here in DC! Local associations are also applying the problem solving technique to the issues they are facing.

What has happened to my city! Five years ago I was on the brink of packing my bags and headed to a city with a better design thinking community. Looks like the community came to me!

Is there movement in your community around design thinking? Tell me the changes you've seen.