Design is known to be an interdisciplinary field, and design activities and outcomes are developed in conjunction with (as well as used in) many other disciplines, including management, marketing and entertainment. Moving the concept of design beyond the design discipline itself creates exciting new challenges and opportunities, not only for the various other disciplines involved, but also for design education. The idea for this paper was incubated in a post-graduate classroom environment during an interdisciplinary design elective. Within the current academic environment, it is not strange to have students from diverse disciplines such as management, theology, engineering and publishing
studying the same subject matter (and sitting in
the same class). This paper therefore finds it fitting to explore conceptually the potential of design thinking in the (seemingly) unrelated discipline of Operations Research/Management Science (OR/MS). The discipline of OR/MS is first introduced and this is followed by a brief outline of some of the current problems in this well-established discipline. This section
highlights these problems as being, amongst others, the increasingly complex management environment that OR/MS has to operate in; as well as the dichotomy between theory and practice in the discipline. This is followed by a description of the characteristics of design thinking, and then by a conceptual exploration of design thinking as a solution to some of the problems that have been identified in OR/MS. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implication
for design education.