What is Design Thinking?

We’re pretty sure you’ve heard about the concept of Design Thinking many times lately. But have you ever wondered what it is and why there’s so much talk about this seemingly simple methodology?

Design Thinking is a method for developing innovation and activating creative potential. The process consists of five key phases and always ends with the introduction of prototype. During the process, we generate a large number of ideas, and the highlight is the definition of the key idea that suits best the users’ needs. With this methodology we try to discover, record and describe human emotions and psychological aspects of user experience. And excatly putting the user into the center is what this methodology makes special.

Design Thinking is a universal methodology, which means it is applicable in all industries and is considered one of the most effective approaches for finding a solution. We are not talking about a revolutionary method, but what makes it special, in relation to other methods, is the fact that people of different profiles, knowledge and skills are involved, as opposed to a standard approach to solving problems with largely homogeneous teams. Therefore, Design Thinking is not only intended for designers and creators, but on the contrary, to anyone who thinks he is not creative and that his ideas can’t contribute to the company’s innovativeness and differentiation. The term Design Thinking is often referred to as a tool to stimulate creativity, especially manager’s.

When we talk about this kind of thinking, it is worth mentioning three basic principles of high-quality design. These principles are common to the already mentioned focus on the user. Namely, at the beginning of the process, one tries to understand his emotional needs and behaviors, and in further steps he is actively involved in all phases. Thus, the user no longer receives a passive solution, but is actively involved in the process of creating it. The three key principles we are talking about are human-oriented design, joint creation, and participative design.

Human-oriented design focuses on user needs, behaviors, and emotions. Research teams receive replicas of the actual situation or the actual situation. This helps them to reach authentic thinking, behavior, and experience, and that’s how we develop empathy. Empathy is a key element for a deep understanding of users, and is the basis for a potential solution to the challenge.

Co-creating means that by involving the user in the process and interacting with him, we get a direct insight into how to use a particular solution and the challenges associated with it. However, we are also approaching the motivation of the user, respectively everything that emotionally engages him, and is important in his relationship with the product/service.

Participative design means that users as “experts” for personal experiences become the main point. The designer should facilitate collaboration, and with his own knowledge and skills, make people easier to connect with each other, help them communicate, encourage creativity, share their knowledge with customers, and help test the collected ideas.

If you are already wondering exactly what Design Thinking is, we will have to disappoint you, but there is no unique definition of this methodology. Some define it as an approach intended for teamwork, others as an experimental approach, and the third consider that it is a search for a balance, while the fourth defined it as a concept that encourages thinking and implements changes.

The concept of Design Thinking can be understood as a way of solving a problem with a predefined process and a set of methods and techniques. Applying the concept of Design Thinking to the very idea development actually means that if we analyze the business idea by looking at the true emotional needs of our users, we have a higher degree of acceptance, or much less risk of market rejection.

Finally, the successful outcome of the Design Thinking project is at the crossroads of three criteria: what a user wants, what is technologically feasible and what is commercially viable.