How Did Design Thinking Develop in the Arab World? Findings from Twitter Analysis

Document Type : Original Article


1 Design Thinking Research Program, Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

2 Internet Technologies and Systems, Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany.


Design Thinking is an approach to creativity, collaboration and innovation that has attracted much attention around the globe. While the history and spread of Design Thinking are relatively well documented with regard to the U.S. and Europe, very little is known about its acceptance, under-standing, and application in Arabic-speaking countries. In this paper, we report the findings of an investigation of the early adoption of Design Thinking in Arabic speaking countries using analysis of Twitter data. The results we report here are part of a large-scale study that uses an array of re-search methods to explain the development of Design Thinking in the Arab World. We find that Design Thinking first entered the Arab World in 2006 and reached a peak in 2011. Analysis of collected data revealed that there is no agreed-upon term to designate Design Thinking in the Arabic language. Hence, one of the study’s contributions is the aggregation of all available key terms and plotting these terms by frequency of usage, revealing that 91% of people tweeting about De-sign Thinking in Arabic use the term التفکیر التصمیمی. Another finding shows that the rank order of countries tweeting in Arabic is not the same as the rank order of countries tweeting in English. As for Arabic tweets, Saudi Arabia contributes most posts (70% of all Design Thinking mentions). By contrast, the United Arab Emirates contribute most posts on Design Thinking in English (42% of all Design Thinking mentions).


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