The Design Thinking Toolbox review - tbe best design thinking metods book

The Design Thinking Toolbox review

The best design thinking tools collection

Design thinking is a problem-solving methodology that has been used by companies all over the world to turn great ideas into innovative products and services.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to design thinking tools, and the recipes for hands-on work that go with the methodology, then look no further than The Design Thinking Toolbox. This book is a collection of the most relevant design thinking methods for corporate projects.

It’s perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about design thinking and apply these methods to their own work!

A review from personal experience

This review is written from practical experience with the book:

I use The Design Thinking Toolbox in my daily work, and in innovation projects at my corporate job.

As design thinkers, we have great intuition. But this intuition often defaults to the methods we are familiar with and comfortable with. The Design Thinking Toolbox helps me to discover a new method here and there, and it makes it super easy to choose one that fits the project phase I’m in.



In short - What is The Design Thinking Toolbox about?


The Design Thinking Toolbox - let's dive into it


Introduction: What is design thinking?


Main part: The toolbox


Closing: Best practice examples


My opinion about the Design Thinking Toolbox

In short – What is The Design Thinking Toolbox about?

Book name: The Design Thinking Toolbox

Authors: Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, Larry Leifer

Year first published: 2020

Topic: Design thinking theory and design thinking methods

Series: The Design Thinking Playbook (international bestseller) is the toolbox’s prequel, covering the design thinking concept in more detail.

The Design Thinking Toolbox – let’s dive into it


A spin-off from The Design Thinking Playbook

The Design Thinking Toolbox is the second book in a series by the same authors. The original book, The Design Thinking Playbook, gives a great overview of the design thinking methodology and describes how it’s applied in businesses and organizations.

The toolbox is all about the methods in design thinking practice and is the perfect complement to the playbook.


PS: There’s even more: The Design Thinking Life Playbook and Design Thinking for Business Growth are two more books in this series.

Based on the experience of a global design thinking community, 2’500 practicing design thinkers

The design thinking methods included in the box were evaluated and chosen with the largest international survey on the use of design thinking methods.

The survey gathered feedback from design thinkers of all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, to capture the most relevant design thinking tools in the world.

Every design thinking tool in the book features a member of the global design thinking community. They explain why it’s their favorite tool and share practical tips.

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods

Introduction: What is design thinking?

The first section introduces you to the world of design thinking.

It includes an overview of the design thinking process and its stages – understand, observe, point of view, ideate, prototype, test, and reflect.


The book explains design thinking in a way that is easy to understand and connects theory to practice in business straight away. Even the introduction is filled with expert tips for doing design thinking, with a project team in a corporate environment.

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods

Main part: The toolbox

The main part of the book collects all design thinking methods. The design thinking toolbox explains each method in detail. It covers the basics of what the method is used for, and provides instructions for how to use each tool.

In detail, every tool description spans over four pages and covers:

  • What the tool helps you accomplish in the design thinking process
  • A visualization of the method
  • What you achieve with the tool
  • Visualization of where in the design thinking process this tool is typically used
  • Background info about the design thinking tool
  • Alternative tools
  • Supporting tools; recommendation of other tools to use in combination with the featured method
  • What’s needed to use the tool in a workshop (group size, time, materials)
  • A template of the tool or visualization of the process
  • Instructions on how the tool is applied
  • Variations
  • Introduction of a design thinking community member
  • reasons why this method is their favorite one
  • Expert tips
  • Example images from a workshop using the tool
  • Description of a use case
  • Key learning from the expert
  • Template download link and QR code

On top of the main methods, the toolbox also introduces appropriate warm-ups (tools and methods to break the ice at the beginning of a workshop).

Closing: Best practice examples

In the closing section of the book, you will find best practice examples of how companies apply the design thinking methods and tools discussed earlier in the book. These examples come from a variety of industries and disciplines (for example Stanford University or Siemens), and provide readers with a wealth of inspiration and ideas on how to practically apply design thinking in their company.

My opinion about the Design Thinking Toolbox

This book is the ultimate guide to design thinking methods!

It not only summarizes the most popular methods for design thinking but it’s also filled with practical application tips. It’s certainly a very effective tool to quickly and comprehensively familiarize yourself with design thinking and to actively practice it.


I have mentioned it in the intro: The toolbox is a super useful tool to select the best design thinking method for every phase of a project, in any type of project.


A few key elements to point out:

1 – Good overview

I love that there is an overview table and a tools quick finder matrix. Instead of a traditional index, the book’s very first page is a table that lists all tools and gives an overview of where in the design thinking cycle they best fit.

2 – A truly practical guide to mastering design thinking

Throughout the book, it’s very apparent that it’s written by people who live and breathe human-centered design. You can quickly find what you are looking for and even abstract methods are visualized in an easy-to-understand way, the book is based on simple instructions.

No matter if you’re a seasoned design thinking practitioner or are looking for new avenues in your innovation process without any design thinking knowledge, you will be able to facilitate different design thinking workshops with this book.


3 – The most popular and valuable innovation tools selected

This toolbox truly contains the most important tools and most popular methods in design thinking.

It even surprises with new methods and smart variations of the most popular and valuable innovation methods, most likely a result of the global survey among the design thinking community.


4 – Detailed instructions

Compared to other design thinking tools, for example in card format, the toolbox offers much more detailed information about each method. The step-by-step instructions include tips, templates, and images.

Even if you are in the early stages of your design thinking journey, the book will be all you need to start practicing design thinking in your work.

It’s impressive how well this book condenses so much expert knowledge.


5 – practical templates

The methods that work best with a specific visual layout come with a template. You can either re-create a layout (digitally or with pen on a whiteboard) or buy it as a print-out from the online shop that goes with the book.

One of the templates, the workshop planning canvas even comes inside the book.

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods

6 – Connecting business and design thinking

This is one of the few books which connect the creative methods of the design thinking framework with business strategies.

The authors and global experts understand the two and share strategies to make innovation happen.

Finding frameworks that drive business growth, creating a digital transformation roadmap, or facilitating meaningful discussions among stakeholders in your organization are only a few of the outcomes this book is designed to support.

For me, as a designer without any business background, it’s very valuable to have the business side covered.

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The Design Thinking Toolbox Review (The Best Design Thinking Methods Collection)

Jan 5, 2023 | PRODUCTIVITY, Design Thinking, Product Reviews

by Corinne

by Corinne

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