By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

Design Thinking: The Process of Designing for an Undefined Problem

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a process that allows teams to solve undefined problems by understanding the user, challenging assumptions, redefining the problem and creating innovative solutions. It is most helpful in tackling issues that are ill-defined or unknown. Design Thinking consists of five phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test—that allow you to prototype and test solutions to your problem.

Why Is Design Thinking so Important?

In user experience (UX) design, it's crucial to develop and refine skills to understand and address rapid changes in users' environments and behaviours. Design thinking helps solve problems and design products for an undefined issue, so it has gained popularity as the choice among UX designers.

When there's more noise than signal in business, creativity can play a vital role in solving complex challenges. Designers can uniquely contribute insights about people's needs due to their empathy with end-users combined with their understanding of technology and innovation (Igoe et al., 2018). They create novel solutions that deliver better outcomes by combining diverse perspectives from various fields, including engineering or psychology (Norman & Shankar).

Design thinking applications:
Design thinking in itself can be applied across industries; however, it is applied in areas such as healthcare (to understand patient needs better), technology (to create more intuitive software) and education (to teach students how they learn).

Design Thinking Process:

Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process consisting of five steps. The first step, frame a question, involves identifying the driving question that inspires others to search for creative solutions. Following this, gather inspiration to think about what people need and move on, thereby generating new ideas or making existing ones look better through test sessions. Finally, write up your findings so other designers can get an idea of how to tackle unknown problems themselves.

How can you get started with design thinking?

1. Gather Insights by Practicing Empathy, Observation and Interviewing

One of the five steps in design thinking is to get customer feedback. This is called User Research, and it's critical to any Gathering information forward- about facing your product target, or consumer is service an essential step in the design thinking process.

2. Assumptions are often challenged: Define the Problem and Gather Data before Issuing Conclusions

Please don't assume anything when it comes to research. Pretend you know absolutely nothing about the topic before diving in headfirst and learning as much as possible. Define a strong problem statement to address in the following stages.

3. Build Low-Cost Prototypes to Understand Unmet Needs

Prototyping, the process of quickly creating a realistic model of an idea or design, is about testing what works. Beginning with pen and paper can help you understand customer needs before investing in production costs.

4. Turn Problems into Questions

When presented with a complex problem, resist the urge to find an immediate solution. Instead, ask another question that might lead you one step closer to what is needed or might support incremental improvement in the current situation.

5. Gather, synthesize, and analyze qualitative data

The type of research you engage in falls into three buckets: generative research, evaluative research, and validating research. Generative research helps identify critical needs and explore new opportunities. Evaluative research helps us gauge our progress through experiments and get feedback on ideas. Traditional market analysis is used to understand what's happening now. Balance your approach by balancing these three types of marketing analytics to focus on where the company currently stands while looking ahead at potential business implications in the future.

It is challenging to state design thinking's phases in a linear order; instead, each stage provides different contributions to the entire design project. You will gain as deep an understanding of your users' needs and desired outcomes as you can throughout these steps.