Design Thinking

Design thinking is an ideology of having a user-centered approach to development and problem solving. It is also a methodology that is used within many different fields for understanding, defining and solving complex and multi-faceted problems regarding the development process.

The general idea of design thinking is to combine divergent thinking with convergent thinking – create choices and make choices. Brainstorming, that let us move from obvious ideas to breakthrough ideas, are combined with methods to screen, evaluate, select and refine the ideas.

Divergent thinking combined with convergent thinking.

There is no clear definition of Design Thinking. However, in terms of methodology, Design Thinking is an iterative and non-linear process and the general method of Design Thinking involves (most often) these following steps:

  • Empathize
    • Gain an empathic understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. Observe and engage with people to understand motivations and needs. Immerse yourself in the environment. 
  • Define the problem
    • Analyze and synthesize the observations from the previous stage. Define the core problem(s) that you have identified among your users/customers/consumers.
  • Ideate
    • Generate ideas for solutions to the problems.
  • Prototype
    • Create prototypes based on the ideas.
  • Test
    • Test the prototypes created. Since this is an iterative process, the number of prototypes tested usually decrease and the fidelity level of the prototypes increase with time.
  • Implement
    • Don’t forget to implement your idea and make it to market!

Design thinking

Design Thinking – Empathize, Define the problem, Ideate, Prototype, Test and Implement.

Where to start?

(first created: 2017-02-12; last updated: 2021-08-05)