There is a lot of confusion about UX Design and Design Thinking due to the fact that many concepts in Design Thinking find application in UX Design. Design Thinking promises innovation and high quality and it is a human centred approach to innovation. But practically they may look the same.
But actually UX Design has become more like a job, while Design Thinking has some flavor of organisational transformation applied in technology and business goals. Design Thinking, and its concepts, are used by UX designers for the purpose of creating effective user experiences. And that is because Design Thinking is a problem-solving approach. Each kind of problem requires a specific approach.
It is important to put users' needs first and avoid assumptions while being empathic, and this is an application of the Design Thinking approach, and helps to better build user - friendly interfaces and design.
UX Design might be a little more limited in terms of solving problems related to paid services design. While Design Thinking can go wide and even solve political problems, organisational problems, business and so on, UX Design is more about the act of design and the output that you get. So it’s something concrete, and if Design Thinking is a Human Centred Approach, UX is HCI - Human Computer Interaction.
The outputs of each are different, but the Design Thinking concepts can still be applied to UX in order to give an output that makes a customer satisfied and fulfills their needs. Understanding users’ needs, the research, testing and prototype, that is something that they both have in common, but going deeper, they’re not the same thing.
In conclusions, UX Design is more about the product while Design Thinking is more about the strategy, the research and the process. They do match each other, but are not the same thing. Still, when applied together they do give great results. Actually in any area where design thinking is applied, the results are beyond amazing!