What is the Design Thinking Process?


A long time ago, when humans used to live under the rocks or in a forest, we used to have different approaches to our problems. If we wanted to move something, we had to carry it. And as time went on, we were able to solve this problem (by discovering the wheel and) and millions of other problems by developing new technologies. We constantly encounter new problems in life and although we want to solve them, it frequently seems difficult to get the correct solution, or sometimes there is even to start nowhere. That’s where the concept of design thinking appears.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is an approach to inventive problem solving that was popularise by David Kelley (who founded IDEO). The basic concept of design thinking is that interdisciplinary teams, in particular, can create real, outstanding innovations. The aim of the design thinking process is to bring together as different experiences, opinions, and perspectives as possible regarding a problem. It developed from industrial design. Therefore, it primarily aims to develop innovative products and services that are tailor to the users’ needs.

In a nutshell, it is a process of solving the problems by thinking like a customer or a user.

Design Thinking Process

This whole framework can be drilled down into three main phases: inspiration and user research, creative idea development, creating, and testing prototypes. Now if we zoom in a little bit, these approaches are expanded by the further strategic design of the developed solutions and their implementation in the company that makes up the entire design thinking process. These are:

  • Understand
  • Define
  • Generate Ideas
  • Create Prototypes
  • Test


In this first stage of the process, you shall get to recognize your target market and you can know who your customers are, what problems they could face and what are their actual needs

This can be achieved through interviews, surveys, and user testing. So, basically, this process is about talking to people and understanding how they think, act, and feel.


According to stage one (what you have gathered about the users), now you shall describe your problem report. Whilst forming your problem report, emphasis on the needs of the customers of yours over the business goals. Keeping it “user-focused” is the main theme of this stage of design thinking. This problem report will act as the North star for your business.

If you start to trail off or get lost, just look the problem statement to refocus.

Generate Ideas

With our problem statement to find, we are ready to ideate. Remember that there is power in unity and it is always great to get ideas from other people always. Every person thinks distinctly and that’s why you can get innovative ideas to solve the issue that your target audience can face. So, call on your team and get the opinions. The main thing to focus on here is quality rather than quantity.

So, think outside of the box and explore new angles. For instance, online platforms create various tutorials like how to win on penny slot machines, game strategies, how to maximize chances of winning, many others in order to educate their customers and this proved a good idea to attract new customers. So, there are many ideation techniques to get you and your team started.

Create Prototypes

Prototypes come in all shapes and sizes: from basic paper bottles to interactive digital mock-ups. The aim is to have somewhat concrete that can be try on real human users. Getting your prototype into the hands of real users will give you great insight on if the solution you provided is valid or if it needs some more work.

Based on their response and reaction, you can bring deviations and developments prior to investing in finance and valuable time creating the real thing.


In the last phase of design thinking, the generate prototypes are further validates with the involvement of customers and users. This shows which approaches are suitable for sustainable problem solving and how close the results are to marketability.

Some of you may think that all these stages are in chronological order but you have to remember the fact that this whole concept is more iterative and it is less linear. At each segment of the phase, you will most likely discover new things that entail you to look back and replicate a former stage.