Designing Consent: Can Design Thinking Manufacture Democratic Capitalism?
Organizational Aesthetics Cover Issue Vol. 5(2)


Design thinking
guided democracy
democratic experimentalism

How to Cite

von BuschO., & PalmasK. (2016). Designing Consent: Can Design Thinking Manufacture Democratic Capitalism?. Organizational Aesthetics, 5(2), 10-24. Retrieved from


This article interrogates the proposition, recently put forward by design thinking advocates Tim Brown and Roger Martin, that democratic capitalism needs design thinking. More specifically, it assesses three problematics that emerge when design thinking moves from corporate settings to the public sphere of democratic deliberation. The text thus discusses the potential for design thinking to be used as a tool for the exercise of cybernetic control in the context of a mounting dissent with social injustice, and the extent to which it may be deployed as a means to "guide" democracy. Furthermore, it posits that the expectations placed on design thinking reflect the design profession's agnostic approach to realpolitik.