Frame Innovation

From Design Thinking, Design Theory

Frame Innovation

Create New Thinking by Design

By Kees Dorst

How organizations can use practices developed by expert designers to solve today's open, complex, dynamic, and networked problems.





How organizations can use practices developed by expert designers to solve today's open, complex, dynamic, and networked problems.

When organizations apply old methods of problem-solving to new kinds of problems, they may accomplish only temporary fixes or some ineffectual tinkering around the edges. Today's problems are a new breed—open, complex, dynamic, and networked—and require a radically different response. In this book, Kees Dorst describes a new, innovation-centered approach to problem-solving in organizations: frame creation. It applies “design thinking,” but it goes beyond the borrowed tricks and techniques that usually characterize that term. Frame creation focuses not on the generation of solutions but on the ability to create new approaches to the problem situation itself.

The strategies Dorst presents are drawn from the unique, sophisticated, multilayered practices of top designers, and from insights that have emerged from fifty years of design research. Dorst describes the nine steps of the frame creation process and illustrates their application to real-world problems with a series of varied case studies. He maps innovative solutions that include rethinking a store layout so retail spaces encourage purchasing rather than stealing, applying the frame of a music festival to understand late-night problems of crime and congestion in a club district, and creative ways to attract young employees to a temporary staffing agency. Dorst provides tools and methods for implementing frame creation, offering not so much a how-to manual as a do-it-yourself handbook—a guide that will help practitioners develop their own approaches to problem-solving and creating innovation.


$26.95 T ISBN: 9780262324311 224 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 36 b&w illus.


  • Kees Dorst manages in his new book Frame Innovation: Create New Thinking by Design to provide a practical new approach to design-led innovation. His frame creation approach enables the addressing of difficult and wicked problems through the use of design thinking. All managers who run firms that want to compete on value rather than cost should familiarize themselves with this approach. I commend this book to the global business community.

    Göran Roos

    Professor in Strategic Design, Faculty of Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia; coauthor of Managing Intellectual Capital in Practice

  • Studies show that a key aspect of the creative ways in which designers think and work is problem-framing, or generating perspectives that engender new understanding of the problem and offer bridges to new solutions. Kees Dorst skillfully explains and develops this concept, illustrates its application with real, complex, and contemporary examples, and shows how teams and organizations can work in this creative, innovative, and designerly way.

    Nigel Cross

    Emeritus Professor of Design Studies, The Open University, UK

  • A fascinating journey into problem-solving for the twenty-first century. Dorst goes beyond the superficial fads and ready-made recipes of popular design thinking cookbooks and provides a robust and clear framework for why and how design can address problems in our society and economy. I will use it with my business school students.

    Roberto Verganti

    Professor of Leadership and Innovation, Politecnico di Milano; author of Design-Driven Innovation