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Friday, November 10, 2017

Design Thinking

Design thinking is methodology, which is extremely useful when solving complex problems. It’s another iterative approach with multiple stages in it. It starts with understanding the customer needs, re-framing the problem to the human understandable way; create as many possible ideas, prototype the ideas and test it. You can use this approach to solve any real-life complex problems regardless of the domain. 

There are many variants of the Design Thinking process in use today but we are focusing on the five-stage model, which are Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.


This is the first stage and the main idea is to gain an empathic understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. Get involved in what your customers are doing. Shadow them for few days and understand their pain. Put yourself in the customer's shoe and think like them, act like them. Empathy is crucial to a human-centered design process such as Design Thinking and empathy allows people to get out of their assumptions and understand the customer needs by acting as a customer for a while


During the Define stage, you put together the information you have learned and collected during the empathize phase. Do a deep analysis of the problem. In other words redefine the problem as a problem statement, which is humanly understandable. A problem statement is a clear concise description of the issues that need to be addressed by a problem-solving team. Basically, it starts with the 5 'W's - Who, What, Where, When and Why. 

  • Who - Who does the problem affect?
  • What - What are the boundaries of the problem, e.g. organizational, workflow, geographic, customer, segments, etc. - What is the issue? - What is the impact of the issue? - What impact is the issue causing? - What will happen when it is fixed? - What would happen if we didn’t solve the problem?
  • When - When does the issue occur? - When does it need to be fixed?
  • Where - Where is the issue occurring? Only in certain locations, processes, products, etc.
  • Why - Why is it important that we fix the problem? - What impact does it have on the business or customer?


During this stage, the team is ready to start generating ideas. Throw all the possible ideas. Always remember there is nothing called ‘stupid idea’. Share and discuss all possible ideas based on the analysis which made during the design stage. Do continues brainstorming sessions and other ideation techniques such as Storyboarding, SCAMPER. It is really important to get as much as possible ideas and choose the best ideas to solve the problem


At this stage create the solution out of the ideas derived during ideate stage which in turn derived from design and empathize stage. Create prototype is not a long process. It should be as quick as making a working model. For example, if working on UI then prototype should be a working model based on static data. The main goal of prototyping is to get feedback from the customer. At this stage, the team will have a better idea about the constraints of the product, the better perspective of how the end user thinks.


At this stage, the stakeholders do a thorough review and testing of the developed prototype using the best solutions. Stakeholders will share their complete feedback and thoughts.

The idea that selected the best according to the feedback of the customers and end users in the prototype phase will be executed. After the testing phase, the entire process of design thinking can be repeated depending on the feedback from customers. If customers approve the solution then the process of design thinking stops.

Design thinking minimizes the uncertainty and risk by engaging customers or users through the series of defined stages. Instead of assumptions, design thinkers rely on customer insights gained from real-world experiments.

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