What is design thinking?

10 August 2017

Design Thinking” is a design methodology primarily branded by the product design firm IDEO. It consists of both a process and a set of values.

The process is generally defined to be:

  1. Observe: This phase is dominated by “needfinding,” a process by which designers go out and observe users participating in activities that inform the area in which you are designing. This can include just observing, or interviews.
  2. Understand: Analysis of the data collected through observation, attempting to understand the user’s deeper motivations, feelings and values.
  3. Define: Define a point of view (POV) on the problem, that directs your understanding of what you are trying to design.
  4. Ideate: This generally consists of a variety of brainstorming techniques to come up with new ideas.
  5. Prototype: Build out ideas in a physical form.
  6. Test: Bring your prototypes to users to get feedback to revise and adjust your prototypes.


Another way to explain it is that design thinking is a methodology to enable innovation.

It does this by: