Innovation is driven by questioning old methods. New ideas are proposed, tried and discussed. This is what Design
Thinking is based on: Innovation. It encourages creativity and helps considering alternative solutions rather than
repeating the same ways of solving a problem to design a user-centered product.
So what exactly is Design Thinking?
"Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and
redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions..." according to the Interaction
Therefore this process encourages companies to focus on the people they're creating for, which ensures a more
successful and user-friendly product. Since products meeting the users needs are way easier to recognize than the
ones that do not, it is in the company's interest to create a human-friendly device or outcome.
Overall Design Thinking will separate the problem identification from the solution creation and provide a foundation
for finding the intersection of human desirability, business viability and technical feasibility to iteratively
create user centered solutions that will bring value.
The big question: Why?
Through reevaluating the problem and finding a new user-centring definition of it, Design Thinking allows companies
and product designers to concentrate on what is most important for users.
The 6 phases
Design Thinking is divided in six non-linear phases, which can occur simultaneously and sometimes it’s even
necessary to repeat one of the phases a couple of times.
Phase 1: Empathize
Empathizing with the user is the first step. In order to produce a product, which meets the users' needs, it's
important to find out all about the users' pains, desires and goals. For the purpose of getting to know the
customers pains, it's necessary to let go of any assumptions or expectations, because you really want to avoid bias.
Phase 2: Synthesize
After getting a deep understanding of the people you're designing the product for, defining the most pressuring
problem to solve is the next step. Therefore you need to synthesize the data and insights from your observations and
Phase 3: Ideate
Once you defined the problems, it's time to brainstorm possible solutions that will solve the customers pain. It's
important to think outside the box, to not get stuck with old ideas and to be creative.
Phase 4: Prototype
This phase is about finding the most promising idea and visualizing it. It's not meant to be a finished product.
It's rather about not investing too much money or time and getting feedback from the users as soon as possible. This
leads to the next phase.
Phase 5: Test
After finishing the prototype, it's unavoidable to seek feedback. Keep in mind, that it's not important whether
feedback is positive or negative, it either confirms your hypothesis or indicates that you should start the process
Phase 6: Iterate
Depending on the results of the prior phase, you iterate the process with new insights and hypotheses.
Design Thinking is an iterative process which gives significant insights of the users needs and helps developing a
user-friendly product. Additionally it's important to remember that these 6 phases are not linear and you might
repeat a few of these phases several times before finding a promising solution.
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