The notion of design as a "way of thinking" in the sciences can be traced to Herbert A. Simon's 1969 book The Sciences of the Artificial,and in design engineering to Robert McKim's 1973 book Experiences in Visual Thinking. Peter Rowe's 1987 book Design Thinking, which described methods and approaches used by architects and urban planners, was a significant early usage of the term in the design research literature. Rolf Faste expanded on McKim's work at Stanford University in the 1980s and 1990s,teaching "design thinking as a method of creative action. Design thinking was adapted for business purposes by Faste's Stanford colleague David M. Kelley, who founded IDEO in 1991.Richard Buchanan's 1992 article "Wicked Problems in Design Thinking" expressed a broader view of design thinking as addressing intractable human concerns through design.
Design thinking is a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions, with the intent of an improved future result. In this regard it is a form of solution-based, or solution-focused thinking – starting with a goal (a better future situation) instead of solving a specific problem. By considering both present and future conditions and parameters of the problem, alternative solutions may be explored simultaneously.