Introducing Design Thinking


After completing this lesson, you will be able to Refresh the basics of Design Thinking, its principles, philosophy, and stages.

Introduction to Design Thinking

This lesson will introduce the fundamentals of Design Thinking, its philosophy, principles, and stages. The learner will understand the notion of empathy, ideation, and rapid prototyping, which are central to Design Thinking.

Design Thinking is a process and a methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is highly user-centric, aiming at creating the best possible experience for the end-user. The Design Thinking process is typically broken down into five stages: Empathize (Scoping and 360 Research), Define (Synthesis), Ideate, Prototype, and Test (Validation), although these stages are often iterative and do not have to follow a specific order.

  1. Empathize (Scoping and 360 Research): This is the first stage of the Design Thinking process, aiming to understand the users' emotions, experiences, and needs. It involves observing, engaging, and empathizing with the people for whom solutions are being designed.
  2. Define (Synthesis): The observation and empathy gathered in the first stage are synthesized to define the core problems. The goal is to construct a clear and articulate viewpoint of the users and their needs.
  3. Ideate: During Ideation, the focus shifts to generating a wide array of innovative solutions. The goal is to bring out as many ideas as possible without judgment, fostering creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
  4. Prototype: A prototype is a scaled-down version of the product or specific features found within the product. In Design Thinking, the prototype will facilitate the identification of any design faults as early as possible.
  5. Test (Validation): Finally, the complete product, or the best solutions identified during the prototyping phase, are rigorously tested. This testing phase is iterative in itself, often resulting in refinements and changes to the solution.

Design Thinking is deeply human-centered, and it acknowledges people as the leading force of any project. Solutions are designed to fit the user's needs best, and problems are redefined in human-centric ways. It encourages diverse perspectives by fostering a culture of co-creation and productive brainstorming.

Design Thinking - One Possible Definition
Design Thinking is an human centric approach for solving complex problems by generating new ideas.


Please see also: Roger Martin „The Design of Business"

Design Thinking urges businesses to focus on the people they are creating for, leads to better products, services, and internal processes. By using Design Thinking, organizations can more deeply understand their customers and offer innovative, user-friendly solutions.

"Design thinking draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success. Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO"


Homework: Think of a product or service you use daily and try to outline how the Design Thinking process could be applied to improve it.

In the following lesson Role of Facilitator in Design Thinking. Learn what it takes to successfully guide a team through the Design Thinking process.

Additional References - Introduction to Design Thinking

Get Started with Design Thinking

Source: Get Started with Design Thinking — Stanford

Overview: Explore experiences and lessons for teaching design thinking. Understand the philosophy, principles, and stages of design thinking. Use these resources to inform your teaching practice or guide your students in real-world projects.

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