Design thinking began as an approach to designing products and services. More accurately, it's an approach that involves designers early in the process—during concept development—rather than having them focus merely on the aesthetic aspects of already developed ideas.
Compared with conventional design practices, design thinking also concentrates heavily on the subjective experience of the end user. Practitioners of the approach consider themselves to be designers of experiences rather than designers of products and services.
Gattiker, Thomas. (2012). "Rethinking Design". Quality Progress, 45(3), 32-37.