To survive and thrive in today’s world, an organisation needs to be creative. For creativity, the capacity of design is indispensable. A design practice is a breeding ground for creativity. There are no universal defi­ni­tions of these terms. On this page, you will find the definitions that Design Impulse uses.



To survive and thrive in today’s world, an organisation needs to be creative, that is, productive through imagination. Routine tasks can and will be auto­mated or out­sourced. So only by being creative can an organi­sation sus­tain­ably make a difference.


Design definitions

For creativity, the capacity of design is indispensable. Design produces a plan, sketch, or drawing to show the appearance, function, and workings of an object before it is built or made. Through design, a designer creates new ex­pe­ri­ences, that is, new possibilities for users to fulfil their needs and desires.

Design problems tend to be wicked. They are vague, confusing, unique, and you understand them only after the formulation of a solution. Requirements for needs and desires of users may be incomplete, inconsistent, imprecise, or ambiguous (e.g., see Towards a knowledge level theory of design process). As a result, designing is hard to do, explain, and understand.

From a scientific point of view, design creates a theory. That is an idea, a plan, or a set of prin­ciples how to fulfil certain needs and desires through the proper­ties of a yet non-existing object. Design also creates a model of this theory. It specifies an object with properties that correspond to the properties following from the theory. On the basis of this model, you can then build or make the object (e.g., see Towards an anticipatory view of design).

Scientific model of design

Design practice

design practice is a breeding ground for creativity. It is a group of people focusing on long-term sustainable success of design in an organisation (e.g., see A Frame­work for Building a Design Practice). There are many fields of application, such as advertising design, industrial design, and web design. The team size varies per industry and orga­ni­sation.

A design practice applies one or more design approaches. A design approach is a behavioural way to tackle a design problem from a certain perspective. For instance:

A design practice may follow one or more design methodologies. A design methodology refers to principles, practices, and procedures. They have been proven to help solving certain design problems. For instance:

  • Agile for change-driven develop­ment,
  • V-Model for test-driven develop­ment, and
  • Design for X for issue-driven develop­ment.