The aesthetic knowledge problem of problem-solving with design thinking
Journal of Management Inquiry,
July (3rd Quarter/Summer)
In this essay, we examine how aesthetic knowledge defines design thinking and also poses a challenge for many organizational systems. Design thinking is one problem-solving approach that addresses problems where multiple and conflicting interests must be met by perceiving the holistic quality of the interconnections across such interests. However, there has not been a clear declaration of what is at the core of design thinking. The direct engagement of the bodily senses in design-thinking methods points to the importance of aesthetic knowledge for problem definition and solution generation. Organizational systems, however, often occlude the role of the body at work, and therefore of aesthetic knowledge. Drawing on structurationist theory, we make suggestions for how organizational systems might adapt to more effectively generate and use aesthetic knowledge and tackle increasingly complex problems.