5 Stages of the design thinking process

Design thinking is the design methodology all about solving problems using a solution-based approach. By understanding the human needs, we can break down problems and re-build them in a user centric way. This is achieved through activities such as brainstorming, prototyping, and testing. There are 5 core areas to design thinking. These are illustrated in the below diagram.


Stage one of the Design Thinking process, requires us to empathise with our users. Empathy is the core of a user centric design process. Empathy enables us to understand people, within the context of our project. One of the main goals of the emphasis stage is to understand why users do things and how they do things. All these insights gained into users and their needs greatly aids the end design solution.


Stage two involves us pulling all the insights we have gained together. We then set about analysing our insights, observations, and data, organising all this information into core problem statements. These will become our guiding statements that focuses on insights and the need of a user.


Stage three, this is where we get to start generating ideas. With the knowledge and insights, we have gathered so far,  we can start to identify new solutions to the problem statements we created in the previous stage.


Stage four prototyping, we now set about producing several inexpensive, scaled down versions of the final solutions. This prototype can be anything from post-it notes, storyboards or paper based, if a user can interact with it we can use it.


The final stage, or is it? With an iterative process, we will take the results generated in this stage and will use these insights to redefine one or more problem statement. Taking our problem solutions created in the ideate stage we can investigate if these answers the users’ needs that we defined in the problem statements.

As mentioned in the test stage this process is iterative, so at times it may feel we are moving backwards rather than forwards. Each time we take step backwards we are moving the project forwards. Striving to produce the best solution to the problems we have discovered.


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