What is Design Thinking?

A useful method for creative and practical problem-solving that finds its roots in a plethora of subjects, from architecture to business.


Design 20 March 2018

At its core, Design Thinking is about understanding people’s needs and designing solutions which meet those needs. It is a user-centred, co-creative approach that takes into consideration each stakeholder in the process. The cornerstone concepts it rests upon are to Understand, Ideate and Verify.

By understanding the motivations, cultures and context of the stakeholders involved, Design Thinking enables the creation of a new solutions that have yet to be explored. It does this through direct observation and qualitative data, which in turn creates better storytelling that generates more empathy with the consumer. With more empathy, comes greater knowledge of what the problems and challenges faced may be. As with any problem, being able to define it accurately is one of the crucial steps to solving it.

Then comes the ideation phase of the process – delving into the numerous solutions that have been generated thanks to a developed greater understanding. Once these have been iterated time and time again, the refined solutions are rapidly prototyped to test their worth. Rapid prototyping speeds up the innovation process and provides an even greater comprehension of the problems and solutions because, without testing an idea first, it is impossible to know how it will function in the real world.

Thanks to the flexible nature of design thinking, each part of the iteration sequence can be revisited. From here, the differentiating element can then be identified. As this process is repeated regularly early on, it is much easier to ensure that mistakes are made quickly, cheaply and ultimately, successfully.

The beauty of design thinking is that it is a methodology. A methodology which can be replicated repeated within any field. This increases creativity, stimulates the cross-pollination of ideas and guarantees the best solution for every stakeholder involved.

Anyone can be Design Thinker, not only professional designers. The most important thing is to have the right mindset that embraces diversity, thinks outside of the box, works visually, stays focussed and understands that much of the time when designing a solution, done is better than perfect.

Design has always impacted how we experience the world around us, today, design is beginning to effect how we work. That is Design Thinking.