What does the Design Thinking process look like?

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If you want to know what Design Thinking is, we invite you to read the previous article What is Design Thinking?


The Design Thinking process is a simple set of four steps: define, ideate, prototype and learn. These steps are not linear, meaning that along the way it is possible to return to a previous stage or even, when completing the cycle, to redefine aspects of the product or service that had not been initially considered.


The first thing to do as a Design Thinker is to empathize with the client's problems and understand their environment. You never define a problem based only on analytics and data, you have to go out and connect with the clients. 

The objective of this phase is to obtain an actionable definition of the client's problem to which you want to provide a solution. In order to define the problem, you must observe what the clients do, what they say and talk to them in depth to find out why. For this there are different tools such as: 

Empathy map (designed by XPlane): it analyzes 4 aspects from the client's point of view: what he thinks and feels, what he sees around him, what he says and does, and what he hears. 

Covert observation: an immersion in the client's reality is made through the use of a product or service in order to know in depth their problems. 

Cognitive immersion: an immersion in the client's reality is made through the use of a product or service to get to know their problems in depth. 

What, how and why questions:  we start with the initial observations (what?). Then you ask how what you are observing is happening (how?) to obtain details and go deeper into the observation. Finally, you get to the why, or rather to the different why that allows you to identify not only the apparent but also the emotional drivers behind each of the facts you observe.


This phase has the following main objectives:

  • Create a safe environment for the team to promote creativity.
  • Build a multidisciplinary team with different points of view and approaches to the defined problem.
  • Generate as many ideas as possible without making value judgments. Encourage and promote crazy ideas, without fear. No idea is bad, they are all valuable and important to the process. 
  • Reflect on and refine the ideas that, in the team's opinion, will best solve the problem posed.
  • Conduct a feasibility and impact study to select the ideas with the greatest impact and lowest cost.
  • Land the selected ideas in order to deepen their understanding and try to understand how to put them into practice.

To achieve these objectives it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the Design Thinker is the facilitator. That is, he/she may have ideas, but the main contribution in the process is to help create a safe environment and foster creativity.


The objective of this phase is to design and implement a tangible prototype that allows us to respond to the problem we defined.

In this part of the process the designers check if they have correctly interpreted the problem of their users and if there are failures, they will have been with little investment of time, resources and money.

This prototype is called Minimum Viable Product, since it is not necessary to have something very elaborated and finished. It is an important advance that allows testing and visualization of the most important functionalities. This allows us to mitigate errors at an early stage and to see if it is in the right direction.


In this phase, we examine whether we were right in defining the users' problem, whether the idea is the one that would best solve their problem or whether other ideas could have been explored. Also, it is deduced if the designed prototype makes these ideas tangible adequately or if it is defective and finally if this whole process confirms the hypothesis. 

method is repeated, since we have more understanding of the problem and it is possible that we have to redefine it or that new problems have arisen. Design Thinking, since there is more understanding of the problem and it is possible that it has to be redefined or that new problems have arisen.

In conclusion, Design Thinking is a powerful tool for creating solutions that are not only effective, but also provide a positive user experience. Its human-centered approach to innovation, empathy, experimentation and iteration make it a valuable tool for solving complex problems in a variety of industries.

In this way, organizations can foster a culture of innovation and stay ahead in an ever-changing world.

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