Frankly...you wrote 4 paragraphs that said absolutely nothing about what Design Thinking is. It is long winded statements that smack of some kind of superior thought process someone who wears the Design Thinking Badge...that is irksome.
So, to expand on my original question framed in the context of what you're saying:
What is Design Thinking and how does it ensure successful design outcomes?
That is an extremely bold statement. I would really like to hear how it works. Because, what I hear in what you're saying is that "Design Thinking" is nothing more than "Good Planning".
Design Thinking is a design process coupled with the philosophy that it can also be applied to problems outside of the specific realm of ID. More specifically, a process, like the Big6 information process, to which problems can be applied and solved in a way similar to the way we would solve a design problem (or design opportunity depending on your outlook).
One of the main ways to ensure DT will ensure successful design outcomes is to use it as a framework, and be the designer, ie, use it but know when to change, break or throw out the framework. You mention planning, and though not the sole aspect, a very important one. The planning or design brief will also force you to identify, early on, what successful outcomes look like.
These are the seven steps I have seen attached to DT
Define (the problems, desired outcomes, corporate culture, history, available resources, etc.)
Research (user behaviors, manufacture techniques, materials...)
Ideate (products, systems, solutions, things that won't work...)
Prototype (I think this should be combined with Ideate, because you need to be going back and forth between these two)
Choose (chose the best based on ideas learned from research, prior knowledge of design, and the desired outcomes you defined earlier)
Implement (this is where the launch in beta argument comes in, you need to do work and put it out there to learn from it)
Learn (it is important to follow up on what has been done in order to understand what went well and what went badly. Many companies focus solely on the bad because it is generally glaring and needs to be fixed, but ignoring the good is like walking around blindly in that you tend to keep trying new things even though you may have found the solution.
They are cyclical as well, in that you might run through them multiple times during one problem.
I think it's more than some marketing spin thrown out by IDEO because many universities, IIT for instance, are teaching it as a problem solving methodology. The field of architecture has been especially interested in this methodology as a way for innovative problem solving. However, I was reading an article about a company who cataloged as many existing design methodologies as they could find and at last count were up to around 275-280, so if DT refers to a specific process and not to any of the available design methodologies as they are applied to problem solving in other fields, then I am sure we will all be talking about the next method pretty soon.
Just some guy, trying to figure it out too.