Can Design Thinking Teach You Humility?

14 June 2017 by Shivam Sahai No comments
Design Thinking

Humility & Design Thinking

I was listening to Sean Rad, the Founder and Chairman @ Tinder, the world’s most popular dating app for connecting with new and interesting people around you. I am sure it doesn’t need any further introduction. Sean is also the chairman of Swipe Ventures.

What intrigued my interest was his philosophy on how he narrows down to fund the right startup team. Here’s how he puts it in his words…

“I gravitate towards founders & teams which are humble…who have a healthy degree of humility…ones which are not jaded by any pre-conceived notion…”

And I couldn’t agree more. This brought me into a zone where I started thinking about all kinds of startups I have worked with over the last one year. Were all these startups humble? If yes, did it bring any value to them? If not, did they really miss out on anything? In the end, did it really matter if they are humble or otherwise?

Humble Startups

My inference came to something like this. As a UX consultant I think my services delivered more value when I was able to instil a degree of humbleness-quotient within a startup. For that matter, this is true for any company at any stage of growth. We try and drive home the relevance of Design Thinking for delivering a great customer experience. Our job is half done, when clients acknowledge the importance of design thinking.  It’s a sign that my clients paid for much more than just product strategy or wireframes that we create, at the end of the day.

Case in point, for US based startup that was looking to build a NBA fan-engagement app, we had suggested a novel approach to design, based on ambient factors. The client was humble enough to give us a free hand and craft an experience based on a lot of critical design factors. Another startup with an idea that had few chinks according to user research, was open to making the changes in the app. Now that shows great humility.


If you are someone who hired a design agency recently, how do you feel about your last engagement? For instance, did the agency make you answer the tough questions? Did it push you hard enough and help you to see the playing field clearly? Have they challenged any of your pre-conceived notions? Do you feel the agency did enough to help you understand the finer nuances of design thinking? Did you get a taste of the humble pie before you tasted success 🙂


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Shivam Sahai

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