So What Is Design Thinking?

Posted by Justin Hoyer on Dec 23, 2015 8:30:00 AM
Justin Hoyer

What_is_design_thinking.jpgLet’s explore the Design Thinking definition. Design Thinking is a Human-Centered methodology used by designers to solve complex problems for users and businesses alike. Through empathy, logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning designers collaborate with users and businesses to explore what possible solutions could be to the problems that present themselves.

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs

Although Design is most often used to describe an object or end result, Design Thinking in its most effective form is a process, an action, a verb not a noun. A protocol for solving problems and discovering new opportunities where a diverse team decipher the viable, feasible and desirable.

As Tim Brown, CEO IDEO put’s it, “Design Thinking is all about upgrading within constraints.”

If you are taking the first steps to becoming Customer-Centric Download this ‘What is Design Thinking guideto explore the potential for your organisation

The Double Diamond first coined by the UK Design Council in 2005 and was used as a graphical way to showcase the four stages of the design process and display the principals of Divergent and Convergent thinking and activity. The process as we follow it is Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. The below image displays phases of the Design Thinking process. 


The Design Thinking phases:

1: Discover

Through a range of divergent discovery methods, teams will dive deep and broad into the current landscape to create empathy for the end user and uncover insights depicting both the User and Business needs.

2: Define

Leveraging insights gathered, interpreting and aligning the User needs and Business goals the team will identify and converge on project objectives and set the scope for what outcomes are feasible, viable and desirable. 

3: Develop

The best solutions only come after having many ideas. To do this the team will use methods like ‘How might we?’ to generate hypotheses and internally test these in the form of prototyping, where through a rapid iteration process – a Proof of concept will emerge. To ensure that the team is on the right track, they’ll need to externally test their Proof of concept with end users. Through this validation, abstract concepts will become more concrete. 

4: Deliver

During the delivery process ongoing product Iteration occurs through constant customer feedback and validation. This allows the team to converge on specifics and solidify what the Minimum Viable Product will be and how to deliver that product to the market.

These phases give insight into the Design Thinking methodology that is starting to become best practise for many organisiations.

To gain a better general understanding of the concepts, principals and process of Design Thinking, download our detailed ‘What is Design Thinking’ guide below. This guide will provide you clarity and direction, as to how you can implement these methods to create success in your business. 

Your Guide to Design Thinking

Topics: Design Thinking and Customer Experience