Design thinking is what people do when they pursue their goals. Everyone focuses their thinking in order to satisfy wants and needs regarding a particular situation. They recognize and define information relevant to their purpose, consider alternatives, decide what to do, do it, determine if they are satisfied with the results, and if not, revise their approach until they are successful, all while learning through the experience.
This is designing. It is a process of creative and critical thinking that allows information and ideas to be organized, decisions to be made, situations to be improved, and knowledge to be gained. Purposeful thought and action is the basis for all human achievement and is found in all subject disciplines. Its objective is to change information,understandings or circumstances, to preferred or improved states or to create something entirely new. Because there are many possible outcomes from design thinking it is not easily automated like purposeful thought that has become habitual or has a predetermined result, such as solving a puzzle that has only one solution. Design thinking is a more powerful, comprehensive and creative form of purposeful thinking that can be applied to interpret or resolve complex, confusing, or unanticipated situations whenever and however they occur.

Design thinking is creative because its outcomes are not predetermined. It is practical because it produces things to satisfy human needs and aspirations. These may range from a tool designed to assist a particular task, such as a paper clip, to a plan for a complex urban environment that supports many different activities. Design thinking may also be used to create a curriculum or to orchestrate the physical activities of a project, dance or theater production. The processes are much the same in all purposeful thought. It is the subject to be addressed, the resources used, and the circumstances, activities and outcomes that are different. Design thinking is not restricted to any particular domain like language is to words, math to numbers or music to sounds. It is a generic process that may be applied to anything to produce or do something that is not already determined. Design thinking can address art and science, contemplation and action, creativity and technology. It involves thinking skills important to the individual, the groups in which they participate, and the societies to which they belong.

Although many people think that designs are patterns or decorations, these are only the results of the particular design activity that created them. One may design a poem, a song, a meal, an airplane, a story, or the performance of a rock band. In fact, designs may be realized in any language, medium or form of expression that can be communicated. Designing is the process by which ideas are made observable and useful as well as the process by which artifacts and behaviors are conceived and realized. It is because the products of designing can usually be communicated and experienced that we think of designs in terms of the outcomes of the process rather than the process or the thoughts involved in it. Sometimes many people cooperate to design something. Sometimes design thinking is done only in the mind of an individual person, but usually, interpersonal communication and physical action is also involved. The one who will use a design or feel its consequences are most important to its success, but learning to achieve worthwhile goals through designing is very important to the confidence and self-esteem of every individual.