Sonnenburg, S. (2017). From Zero to Hero: A Narrative Amplification of Design Thinking. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 2(2), 104-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.18536/jge.2017.02.2.2.11

Since the early 2000s, Design Thinking (DT) has developed into one of the most influential approaches to foster creativity and innovation (Carlgren, Elmquist, & Rauth, 2016b). However, DT’s aspiration to create radical innovation has been called into question by scholars and practitioners. This paper employs a variation of the hero’s journey to afford the DT process new perspectives and insights. The specific vantage point applied in this study helps overcome known shortcomings of DT, like a too rational step-by-step approach as well as thinking and acting in known boxes. “You can’t have creativity unless you leave behind the bounded, the fixed, all the rules.” (Campbell & Moyers, 1991, p. 194) Adopting the hero’s journey perspective, organizations get a better understanding of the team transformation during DT processes. The article is structured as follows: First, the multi-faceted understanding of DT, which is comprised of its mind-set, process and critical reflection, is elaborated. Second, the hero’s journey with its universally transformative potential is discussed as a missing puzzle piece. Third, inspired by narrative insights from the hero’s journey, a re-conceptualized DT process called the heroic DT journey is introduced.

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