Design Thinking Process – 5 simple but powerful phases

Toyota, SAP, and IBM have all utilised Design Thinking methodology to address business challenges. One reason for the spread of design thinking in sectors is that it is beneficial in breaking down issues in any complex system, whether a business, government or social organisation.

Design Thinking Process

The principles of design thinking are a simple but compelling creativity methodology for all. The design thinking approach is a non-linear, iterative method used by teams to understand consumers, question assumptions, reframe issues, and produce new prototypes and tests. It is beneficial for tackling ill-defined or unknown challenges as it involves five phases: empathise, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

The five phases of design thinking are not always carried out in order. It frequently involves a highly iterative loop. Individual processes may take place concurrently, or the product team may switch between phases as they design a product, depending on the project’s demands.

Accept that the process of product design is iterative. It’s uncommon to create a great solution from the beginning. When later-stage discoveries can affect earlier-stage judgments, this is a highly typical occurrence. For instance, the team might hold another brainstorming session when a testing phase uncovers new information about user behaviour. Based on the session’s insights, they might create a new prototype.

Stage 1: Empathise

Research Your Users’ Needs. Typically, user research should be used to develop an empathic knowledge of the problem you’re attempting to solve. Empathy is essential in a human-centred design approach like design thinking because it helps you lay aside your worldview assumptions and get a true insight into people and their needs.

“If you want to build a product that’s relevant to people, you need to put yourself in their shoes.”

Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter

Read Empathise and Empathy Map in Design Thinking for more details on this stage.

Stage 2: Define

State Your Users’ Needs and Problems. It’s time to compile the data acquired during the Empathize step. You then evaluate and synthesise your observations to describe the main challenges you and your team have discovered. These definitions are referred to as Problem Statements. Before moving on to Brainstorming, you may build Personas to assist and keep your efforts human-centred.

Designers – Think big I Tim Brown I Ted Talk I Design Thinking

Stage 3: Ideate

Challenge Assumptions and Generate new Ideas. You can now produce ideas. With a strong foundation of information from the first two steps, you can begin to “think outside the box,” looking for different perspectives on the problem and identifying new solutions to the problem statement you’ve developed. Brainstorming is constructive in this situation.

Read Brainstorming for ideas for more fun and practical technics than Flip-Chart and Post-it.

Stage 4: Prototype

Begin Developing Solutions. This is the exploratory phase of Design Thinking. The goal is to find the best solution for each discovered problem. To examine the concepts you’ve developed, your team should create several low-cost, scaled-down copies of the product (or particular features found inside the product). This might just entail paper prototyping.

Richard and Maurice McDonald’s “ballet” or how to prototype and test the future McDonald’s kitchen. Scene from the Founder.

Stage 5: Test

Experiment with Your Solutions. Although this is the final step, design thinking is iterative: teams frequently utilise the outcomes to redefine one or more challenges. As a result, you may go back to the initial phases to make further iterations, changes, and improvements – to uncover or rule out other options.


Design thinking’s objective is to create with actual users in mind. The individuals who will use their product are thoroughly understood by designers, allowing them to provide a solution that meets their needs.

Both physical and digital designs benefit from the universal methodology of Design thinking. Whether you’re creating furniture or software, Design Thinking principles enable you to put your preconceptions aside and produce goods that are especially suited to the requirements of your target audience.

Creativity is not reserved for a few gifted individuals or specific departments. Everybody can be creative. David Gousset.

Interested in developing Creativity? Visit Read also Lean Startup and SWOT Analysis: How to Do It.

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