The nature of services is becoming complex, indeterminate and often transformational and hence designed solutions need to allow for continuous and ongoing evolution by building up organizational capacity for sustained innovation. Design thinking practices are known to be effective at generating innovative outcomes in cross-functional, multi-stakeholder and indeterminate scenarios. However, they are also met with resistance to change due to deep rooted and established work practices and culture within organizations. Building on theoretical guidelines from practice theory, organizational studies and HCI literature related to practices, learning and innovation, this paper introduces ‘proto design practice’. Proto design practice is a practice-based approach for organizational settings that allows for the translation of design thinking practices in the context of communities’ work practice and consequently allows proto-practices to emerge. The proposed approach is showcased in a case study where design thinking was introduced in the context of an academic library.