The five stages of Design Thinking

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Design Thinking is a process that seeks to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems, and create innovative prototyping and testing solutions. The method consists of 5 phases: empathy, the definition of needs, idea, prototype, and test that we will see a little later in this article.

Why is Design Thinking so important?

The world has become more and more interconnected and complex, and Design Thinking offers a way to deal with all of these changes in a more human-centered way. In recent years, it has become crucial to act in the face of rapid changes in our environment and in our behavior.

Design teams use Design Thinking to tackle ill-defined problems and focus on what is most important to users. It now offers a way to dig a little deeper into problem-solving.

Design Thinking helps designers do the right kind of research, prototype, and test products and services to discover new ways to meet user needs.

It has become more and more popular in recent years, as it has played a key role in the success of many organizations such as Google, Apple, and Airbnb among others. This way of thinking is now taught in major universities around the world.

Design Thinking improves the world around us every day thanks to its ability to generate innovative solutions. It opens up a whole new way of thinking and offers a set of practical methods to help you apply this new mindset.

The five stages of Design Thinking

Hasso Plattner of the Stanford Institute of Design describes the design as a five-step process which is as follows:

  • Step 1: Empathize — Research Your Users’ Needs

The first step in the design process allows you to gain an “empathetic” understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, usually through user research. Empathy is crucial for a human-centered design process, as it allows you to set aside your own assumptions about the world and gain real insight into users and their needs.

  • Step 2: Set — Problems of your users

In the “define” step, you accumulate the information that you created and gathered during the “empathy” step. You analyze your observations and synthesize them to define the fundamental problems. You should always seek to define the problem statement in a human-centered way.

  • Step 3: Idea — Challenge assumptions and create ideas

Designers are ready to generate ideas by the time they reach the third stage of design. The strong knowledge base of the first two phases means that you can start to “think outside the box”, look for other ways to see the problem and identify innovative solutions to the existing problem.

  • Step 4: Prototype — Create solutions

This is an experimental phase aimed at identifying the best possible solution for each of the problems identified during the first three stages. Design teams will produce a number of low-cost, scaled-down versions of the product ( or specific features present in the product ) to examine solutions to issues generated in the previous step.

  • Step 5: Test — Try Your Solutions

Designers or evaluators rigorously test the complete product using the best solutions identified during the prototyping phase. This is the final phase of the model, the results generated are often used to redefine one or more additional problems. Designers can then choose to go back to previous steps in the process to make further iterations, changes, and adjustments to eliminate workarounds.

Written by

Christina Cheeseman is a Technology Strategist at Elitech Systems. She enjoys writing about Technology, marketing & industry trends.

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