Take Five: Dan Baggenstoss & Design Thinking

Dan Baggenstoss was Capsule's very first employee and has fully immersed himself in his clients' worlds for the past 15 years. A critical thinker, he never stops asking questions like, "who are we designing for?" or "how can we make this better?" These questions are essential to the Capsule design process to not only understand the problem that needs to be solved, but to design the best solution to help the client and brand move forward. 

We sat down with him to talk about how he constructs these solutions and what the trending phrase, "design thinking" means for his (and Capsule's) design process. 

What do you think about the "design thinking" phrase and movement? 

I find most phrases that are used in this industry to be pretty curious. They seem to come and go but always represent the same general theme of matching intellect with aesthetics (at least within this specific industry). To me, “design thinking” represents what I have always been interested in and comes naturally to me. It means taking a highly subjective task and putting objectivity to it. It means examining the problem at hand and letting the solution come from it. It means methodically understanding something before constructing something new. It means opening your eyes before closing them to dream.

Have you noticed more attention paid to "design" as a way of thinking? What has changed or what have you noticed? 

It may be our quality of clients, the experience I’ve gained, or just the fact that I’m older, but as the years go by, I seem to have deeper conversations with clients about what they want out of their company or product. These conversations tend to extend far beyond the surface level results they are seeking. Through the process of fully immersing ourselves into our clients work to gain an understanding of where things are before proceeding, it’s hard not to notice other areas where we can make an impact. What I do is speak up and share those thoughts. That honesty and dedication to a client builds trust and begins a relationship that can have revolutionary effects on a product or company.

How do you apply this concept to your design projects every day? 

Each project follows a similar trajectory of diving in, gaining insight, putting a plan in place, exploring solutions, editing, and testing the work. It doesn’t matter what names you put to those individual tasks or the grouping as a whole. It’s how we work at Capsule. It's how I think as an individual. What we do is “design thinking”… At least until someone coins a new phrase.


About The Author

Courtney Johnson

Affectionately known around the office as C-John, CoJo or Uptown Girl, I make sure the whole world knows about the general greatness of Capsule. Armed with the Mary Tyler Moore theme song and Audrey Hepburn inspired wardrobe, I coordinate all details around building relationships and exploring new design opportunities. Sailing on Lake Calhoun and attending local concerts feed my daily musings. 


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