A quick look at the new Double Diamond model

Frank Van De Ven
3 min readJan 27, 2020


There are many different design thinking models, and each of them slightly differ in the way to put people, design and delivery in context. Which specific model you use, is not important, as 90% of these models roughly cover the same process and steps towards a new designed experience. However, one could argue that the ‘double diamond’ methodology is most well known.

The Design Council released an update on the renowned Double Diamond (established in 2004!). Originally, the main four steps were: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver. They’ve kept those steps, but added ‘Engagement’ and ‘Leadership’, as well as ‘Design Principles’ and ‘Methods Bank’.

Double Diamond model, 2019

A new direction

I won’t go into detail on each of the additions to the model, if you want find out, you can read this article. However, I do want to comment on the overall development of the model, after the additions of those elements.

Engagement and Leadership

It seems that service design is broadening and more encompassing, according to this model. Rather than focusing on designing a new service/experience as a stand-alone activity, Engagement and Leadership are pointing towards a world in which (service) design has a greater responsibility, both from a societal/relationship perspective, as well as a cultural/(internal) innovation and education perspective. I do think that design has the intrinsic effect helping people understand the value of the design process, I’m not sure if this should be a result of design, or a goal/starting point.

“(service) design has a greater responsibility, both from a societal/relationship perspective, as well as a cultural/(internal) innovation and education perspective”

As for Leadership, the same can be said: it’s a chicken and the egg story. Should leadership be responsible for innovation/cultural changes, out of which a design-centric company is born? Or will leadership be affected by bottom up design activities, showing C-level the ‘power of design’? Probably a combination of both.

Design Principles and Method banks

Two other elements that were added are ‘Design Principles’ and ‘Method banks’. As for principles, the design councils envisions:

  1. Put people first
  2. Communicate visually and inclusively
  3. Collaborate and co-create
  4. Iterate, iterate, iterate

What I like about these principles, is they focus on the right things: visual communication, collaboration and improving work based on ongoing insights. That being said, I’m not sure how this is new to the design thinking model, as all of these aspects have been around for decades. Maybe it was time to explicitly list these principles, as part of the overall model.

The only thing i don’t really understand are the so called ‘method banks‘ (i.e. tools and frameworks to execute the double diamond, for example a brainstorm tool). For me, it’s impossible to go through the double diamond without any tools of methods. So they’re intrinsically present throughout the whole model. Not sure why this should be mentioned as a stand-alone, separate element in the model.

A light upgrade to a classical model

So all in all, there are not many surprises in this new design model. If anything, the Design Council added items that are sort of ‘required’ in our day and age. In that respect, I’d call it a light upgrade of what was there.

I’d call it a light upgrade of what was there.

If I were them, I would put more energy in seeing how the double diamond can be married with the lean startup model, and an agile execution. There are some interesting visuals on the net that explain the relationships between these methodologies (see below), but I haven’t seen an official standpoint from their creators, yet.

All three design development methods

This article was originally published on the Studio Frankly blog. For more articles on innovation, design and tech, please visit!



Frank Van De Ven

Strategy Director @Umvel. Love innovation, technology and creating better, user-centered experiences. See https://umvel.com