Design thinking is a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions, with the intent of an improved future result. In this regard it is a form of solution-based, or solution-focused thinking – starting with a goal (a better future situation) instead of solving a specific problem. By considering both present and future conditions and parameters of the problem, alternative solutions may be explored simultaneously. Nigel Cross asserted that this type of thinking most often happens in the built, or artificial, environment (as in artifacts).
This approach differs from the analytical scientific method, which begins with thoroughly defining all the parameters of the problem in order to create a solution. Design thinking identifies and investigates with both known and ambiguous aspects of the current situation in order to discover hidden parameters and open alternative paths which may lead to the goal. Because design thinking is iterative, intermediate "solutions" are also potential starting points of alternative paths, including redefining of the initial problem.