Aug 29, 2023 Written by David Barlev
Design thinking

If you work with digital products, you’ve probably heard about the concept of “Design Thinking.” But you may be surprised to learn it’s not just for designers. We’re here to let you in on a little secret – the skills needed for practical design thinking are helpful whether you’re a software developer or project manager. Today we’ll explore the fundamentals of design thinking and how it can help shape better projects. Design Thinking might be the answer to your quest for next-level solutions. We’ll take you through the steps that have helped well-known brands like Apple, Airbnb, and Google create solutions that customers rave about.

Embrace this process, and you’ll be well on your way to transforming your business and exceeding customer expectations.

1. Empathize

The first step in Design Thinking is to empathize with your users. It’s all about understanding their needs, feelings, and goals. Ultimately, this will help you provide a better user experience in your product. This step involves conducting interviews, observing users, and analyzing data to learn about their problems and perspectives.

Case in point: Airbnb.

When the company initially faced low success, the founders decided to travel to New York to learn more about their users and interact with them. This helped them realize the importance of high-quality photos in improving user experience, leading Airbnb to create better photography options for its hosts. Listening to their users has been a cornerstone of Airbnb’s success.

2. Define

After empathizing, the next step is to define the problem you’re trying to solve. This involves identifying patterns and insights from your user research and then crafting a clear and concise problem statement that addresses your users’ needs.

Case study: Google.

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This problem statement allows Google to focus on its user needs in a constantly evolving digital era.

3. Ideate

With a well-defined problem statement, it’s time to ideate and develop innovative solutions. Ideating involves brainstorming, sharing ideas, and engaging in collaborative discussions with your team. Encourage creativity, challenge assumptions, and think outside the box.

Example: Apple.

Apple is known for its game-changing solutions like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. With an emphasis on thinking differently and challenging the norm, they’ve become a go-to example for ideation in Design Thinking.

4. Prototype

After ideating, it’s time to bring your ideas to life through prototypes. These can be low-fidelity (sketches, paper models) or high-fidelity (fully functional systems) but should be designed to test specific variables related to your problem statement.

Getting Creative: Apple.

When developing the first iPhone, Apple built multiple prototypes, iterating and refining them based on user feedback and testing. This allowed them to improve their product before its official launch.

5. Test

Lastly, test your prototypes with real users, gather feedback, and iterate accordingly. The goal here is to identify areas for improvement, validate assumptions, and refine your solution to meet users’ needs better.

Brand story: Dyson.

It took James Dyson 5,127 prototypes to create the first bagless vacuum cleaner. He embraced failure, learned from his mistakes, and iterated on his designs to create a final product loved by users worldwide.

To wrap it up, design thinking is a powerful approach to problem-solving that puts users at the center of the process. We’ve shared the fundamentals of design thinking and explored the five stages – empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test – so that you can be prepared to tackle any challenge with confidence.

Having seen the magic of Design Thinking in action, are you ready to revolutionize your product or service? Our team of experts is here to help you bring your ideas to life and create solutions that exceed expectations.

Interested? Contact us for more information.