I have been on a college tour with my daughter over spring break and design thinking even showed itself in this context. At one college, they were quite proud of their new classroom design which included round tables on wheels, walls that were white boards with dry erase markers, the latest technology and an in class approach of collaboration to solve problems.
They did an experiment. One section of the class was taught in a traditional manner (teacher lecture in a traditional classroom setting with individual problem solving) and another taught in this special room in a collaborative problem solving approach. To their surprise, the collaborative approach in the white board room scored 10% higher on their class tests. Same teacher. Same content. Superior result. As a result their new classroom building under construction will replicate their prototyped collaborative space in all classrooms.
They did not call it design thinking, but it looked and felt a lot like it. The power of collaboration is worth a lot, but you have to set the conditions for it to occur. They did and they saw a measurable result. So can you in your business.
Assess your work conditions. It is set up to encourage exploration and collaboration? What would it take to set the conditions for your people?