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Design Thinking: A Step-By-Step Guide

Updated: May 6

Design thinking is an ideology focused on addressing complicated issues creatively in a user-centric manner. Many design teams worldwide at various technology companies use design thinking, Netflix, Oral B, UberEats, and PepsiCo are among them. As Mauro Porcini, PepsiCo Chief Design Officer said, "The world needs design thinking." Let's discover the first part of our Design Thinking series!

What's the process of design thinking?

Complex issues, sometimes known as "wicked" problems, are difficult to characterize and cannot be addressed using conventional approaches and methods. They are the polar opposite of "tame" problems that can be solved using a tried-and-tested procedure or reasoning. The Design Thinking method prioritizes the user's wants and requirements.

The first step of the process focuses on developing Empathy with target users and learning about their requirements, expectations, and behaviors. The second step is Define where you identify the needs and problems of your user. The following step is Ideate where challenging assumptions and developing ideas take place. Following that, you'll concentrate on developing concepts swiftly transformed into Prototypes and Tested on real consumers. Early and regular evaluation of your solutions is fundamental in the Design Thinking process; this allows you to gather feedback and make any required modifications.

What's the ultimate goal of design thinking?

The purpose of the Design Thinking method is the same: to tackle complicated issues from a human perspective. The Design Thinking approach encourages creativity, innovation, and user-centeredness, allowing you to develop actionable solutions that are:

• Attractive for the user

• Commercially viable

• Practically feasible

Stage 1 of design thinking: Empathize

The first stage of the Design Thinking process entails building empathy with the people you are designing for to acquire insights into what they need and want, how they behave, feel, and think, and why they exhibit such behaviors, feelings, and thoughts while interacting with goods. To acquire such insights, you, as a creative thinker, must empathize with the people you're creating to comprehend their wants, ideas, feelings, and motivations. The good news is that you have a variety of techniques at your disposal for learning more about individuals.

To develop empathy for individuals, design thinkers often passively study them in their native environment or connect with them in interviews. These interviews can be in the form of survey, example using TypeForm, or face to face interviews through online meetings like Zoom. Surveys will not only allow you to collect raw data, statistics, and demographics; they will also allow you to draw insights that you can then use to develop a solution. In addition, as designers, you should strive to put yourselves in these users' environments to understand their situations better. Here are some techniques and tools how to develop empathy for others:

Taking on a Beginner's Mindset

To empathize with consumers, you'd always aim to adopt a beginner's attitude. It implies that designers must always leave their assumptions and experiences at the door while making observations. Your life experiences shape your assumptions, which you use to explain and make sense of the world around you. However, this process impacts your ability to empathize with the people you witness. Because it is hard to eliminate your preconceptions, you must intentionally remind yourselves to adopt a beginner's attitude.

Taking personal Video & Photo Journals

In this method, a camera is given to users to photograph or videotape their activity. The benefit is that your presence does not interfere with users, but they will adjust their typical behavior somewhat since they know you'll watch the footage/picture later. These priceless personal experiences and tales will help you keep the human aspect of design in mind.

Photographs submitted by users during a study in which they were asked to document instances in which they were required to enter text on their mobile or tablet devices. When the returned images are good, the researchers can grasp a lot about where and how text needs to be inserted because the context of use is displayed in the pictures (e.g., in the left image, the user needed to enter a number to pay for parking via mobile, and we can see how much text needed to be entered, the device and even the weather). However, not all of the images returned are excellent! Users are not expert photographers and thus frequently return content that is of little use (e.g., on the right, we can see the user is sitting comfortably with their tablet, but we have no idea what they were trying to do because of the camera flash).

Conducting Interviews

Interviews are a productive way to connect with people. Talking to people will help you understand their needs, hopes, desires, and goals. It must generate interview questions to empathize with people.

Sharing inspiring stories

Each design team member will gather various information, think differently, and develop diverse ideas. Then you should share your motivating experiences to collect the team members' research, including field studies, interviews, etc. The team may come up to speed on progress, take meaning from the tales, and record important elements of the observational job by sharing the narratives that each member has witnessed.


Bodystorming is the physical experience of a scenario to involve oneself in the users' surroundings fully. It requires significant preparation and work, as the environment must be packed with real-world items. Bodystorming puts the staff in the consumers' shoes, increasing the empathy you need as designers to develop the most effective solutions.

Final Words

Design Thinking is a way of dealing with extremely complicated situations. Empathizing with users is a crucial component of the Design Thinking process; ignoring the benefits of learning from others is to miss the point of Design Thinking. As a result, you must 'become' your users to an adequate degree if you are to provide them with perfectly alright solutions that lead the industry.

While working in a Design Thinking crew, you have many tools to help you empathize with your consumers. These strategies, taken together, provide insight into the users' demands and how they think, feel, and behave. Each technique aims to improve the design team's knowledge of their target customer and market and their understanding of what people need and desire from their product.

Ready to embark on a transformative journey of innovation? Our IT consulting experts can guide you through the entire Design Thinking process, from empathizing with users to ideating groundbreaking solutions. Leverage our step-by-step approach to unlock the full potential of Design Thinking and drive meaningful change within your organization.

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