Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

How does "Design Thinking" fit in Business Architecture?

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Since both Business Architecture and Design Thinking have rather vague and wide scoping definitions it is hard to think they have having nothing in common. Yet, at first sight, it is hard to find anything common. 
We have to look through the thick cloud of fuzzyness to find the relationship, if any. 

The definitions. 
According to IDEO, Design Thinking is a "human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations... grow... identify new ways to serve and support people by uncovering latent needs, behaviors, and desires." 

On the other hand, "Business Architecture" today is not really about architecture, as in the blueprint of an enterprise, but about business processes, their improvement, requirements management..., that is about BPM practices. But business analysts are newly called now business architects. Just check a few roles descriptions, if not sure.
The term "business architecture" was adopted by the business analysts' community under pressure from enterprise architecture. It does not have the same meaning as it has in EA, as a layer in the overall enterprise architecture. 

The analysis. 
At first sight, Design Thinking sounds like applying scientific "design" principles (thinking) to organization development, if I were to use the logic of words. 
That may sound like Enterprise or Business Architecture to many. Still, Design Thinking is not really about EA because the "design", in practice, is applied for the enhancement of business flows and human interfaces rather than for the modeling of the enterprise blueprint. 

In fact, the "design" paradigm was not really adopted from technology but rather from art, or say, industrial design, because the Design Thinking does not mean design methods like IDEF, BPML... but design methods aimed to round the human experience. 

The conclusion. 
Design Thinking complements "Business Architecture (BPM) by forming together the Business Process Design discipline that takes into consideration in process modelling human "latent needs, behaviors, and desires". 

In terms of EA, business processes designed for people would enhance the enterprise operation. But business process re-design as such is not really the object of EA, but in itself it is a business goal that determines the target EA.

Design Thinking addresses business processes improvement rather than EA. 

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Adrian Grigoriu blogs about everything relating to enterprise and business architecture, SOA, frameworks, design, planning, execution, organization and related issues.

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of two books on enterprise architecture development available on Kindle and published articles with BPTrends, the Microsoft Architecture Journal and the EI magazine. Shortlisted by Computer Weekly for the IT Industry blogger of the year 2011.

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