Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 40 Number 1 2023 pp. 7-37

Act and Reflect: Integrating Reflection into Design Thinking

Schoormann, Thorsten, Stadtländer, Maren, and Knackstedt, Ralf


Teams working on creative projects, such as design thinking, mostly face complex problems as well as challenging situations characterized by uniqueness and value conflicts. To cope with these characteristics, teams usually start doing something by drawing on their current store of experiences and professional knowledge, and then (re-)assess the outcomes produced, and adjust future actions based on insights obtained during the process. In reflecting on actions, tacit knowledge is revealed that enables designers to handle challenging situations. Although there is great potential to support design thinking by adding a reflection lens, we lack guidance on how, when, and on what to perform reflection. Based on scientific and theoretical literature, semi-structured interviews, a case study and a software prototype, prescriptive design knowledge on how to integrate reflection into design thinking is deduced, which enriches the scarce body of knowledge at the intersection of reflection and (digital) design thinking.

Key words and phrases: Reflection-on-action, reflection-in-action, reflective practice, design thinking, software tools, creativity, design science research, tacit knowledge