Every design project consists of a series of steps that need to be undertaken on a repeated basis. While each project and its requirements are unique, the series of tasks that need to be performed to get a successful outcome are consistent.


My Design Thinking process is made up of six different stages, including empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, testing, and implementation:

 

Step 1 – Empathize

To empathize means to research the people you’re trying to help, the people you’re trying to solve a problem for. In your research, you will need to develop knowledge about what these people do, say, want, think, or feel. That’s how you will be able to empathize with them.

 

Step 2 – Define

What you are aiming to define are the unmet needs of your users. Take a look at the research insights you’ve gathered and take a look at your problem at hand. Next, look carefully to figure out what isn’t overlapping here.

 

Step 3 – Ideate

The third step is where creativity starts to come into the picture. Creativity in ideation can merely mean brainstorming and thinking outside of the box. By creativity, I don’t mean you need to be an artist or anything like that. You just need to let loose with the possible solutions.

 

Step 4 – Prototype

The purpose of prototyping is to get feedback on which parts of your ideas work, which need improvement, and which won’t work for your problem at all. You’ll need to create actual prototypes of some of your brainstormed solutions from the ideation step.

 

Step 5 – Test

Once you have a few prototypes fleshed out, test them with your target audience. Return to the people you’re trying to help and get their feedback. You want to know whether your proposed solution meets their needs, wants, and goals. Adapt your prototype based on their feedback as well to get is as perfect as possible.

 

Step 6 – Implement

Here we are with the final step of design thinking. Once you’re satisfied with the quality of your solution, make it happen and make it real.

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

— Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO