What are the Stages of Design Thinking?




July 13, 2021

When looking for solutions, it is common to fall into already known techniques. Proven strategies are a good guide for digital projects, but there is always no room to innovate and create new options if they are used.

Design Thinking is a new approach to work that helps us look for intelligent solutions to our client's problems based on empathy and interactivity. It is an action model adopted by giants such as Sony and Apple, taught at international universities such as Harvard and Stanford, which, when properly applied, generates excellent results for businesses in any field, size or structure.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a non-linear iterative process that seeks to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems, and create innovative solutions for prototypes and tests. It is focused on the end-user. While many applications are inspired by the need to sell products, designers cannot think from a business perspective. 

Design thinking also encompasses innovative thinking. It's less about copying what your competitors are doing and more about finding more creative solutions that better meet your customers' needs.

Today, application designers are adapting this approach to create applications that are installed and trusted by users. Fundamentally, the design and improvement work is a Loop like the Mobius strip, applying Agile methodology and other practices commonly used in Development.

Stages of Design Thinking

The 5 stages of design thinking should be understood as different modes that contribute to the entire design project, rather than sequential steps.

  • Empathize: research the needs of your users

The first phase of design thinking is empathizing with the end-user. To be successful, designers must understand what users want, what motivates them to use e-commerce applications, and what features they like and what they are missing.

Empathizing with users is the foundation of design thinking because it allows designers to question the norm and break traditional thinking patterns.

  • Define: indicate the needs and problems of your users

The definition stage is about organizing the information obtained during the empathy stage. The point is to take the information, identify problems and define your plan from a user-centric perspective. Moreover, designers can begin to define additional problems that users want to solve with the goal defined.

  • Ideate: come up with challenges and create ideas

Now is the time to start thinking of specific ideas that can solve user problems. The ideas stage often includes brainstorming sessions aimed at inspiring creative solutions. Many out-of-the-box brainstorming ideas can drive innovation, but the hope is that designers will develop a way to resolve identified pain points.

  • Prototype: start creating solutions

It's time to turn ideas into action. The designers create a prototype that addresses all the solutions generated in the ideate stage. The prototype is usually first tested on the in-house team and may also include a small subset of users.

  • Test - test your solutions

The new app design goes through rigorous testing. The tests should explore what users think of the application and how they use it when they use it, and how they behave while using it. You should also explore the most popular features and flaws that users encounter. Again, adjustments are made to ensure that the application launch goes smoothly.

Innovate your thinking with MIT ID Innovation

The design thinking process has become increasingly popular in recent decades because it was key to the success of many high-profile global organizations - companies like Google, Apple, and Airbnb have exercised it to remarkable effect for. This innovative thinking is now taught in elite institutions like MIT ID Innovation. Through its comprehensive courses in design thinking, they open up a whole new way of thinking and offer a collection of practical methods to help you apply this new design thinking mindset.

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