Design Thinking

What is design thinking?

"Design thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success." – Tim Brown, IDEO.

Design thinking tips

The design thinking process is human-centred because it starts with the people you are designing for.

Who to observe

Generate in the extremes and validate with the average – although it is important to empathise well with your core customers, generating inspiration for new design solutions best comes from ‘extremes’.

Design thinking process


Discover your users’ unfulfilled needs before the competition.

Empathy is the foundation of desirable products and services. Empathy requires an ability to listen, observe, engage and immerse in your users’ world and experiences.


Identify the right challenges to design solutions for.

Synthesise findings generated from empathy and unlock deep insights. Connect deeply with your user and define the challenges they face.


Continuously generate and share new ideas. Speed reduces attachment and fuels collaboration.

Ideation is the process of idea generation. We build on each other’s thoughts and generate ideas for specific challenges.


Build to think and learn from fast failures. Reduce costs and risk by increasing speed.

Prototyping turns your ideas into reality. Prototypes let us share and explore ideas so we can learn and fail quickly. Prototypes allow us to test hypotheses with our users and get real and authentic and responses, fast.


An iterative process of refining and developing designs.

Test to refine ideas during development. Testing is an opportunity to bring the user into the design process. Deeply observe the prototype in use and identify ways to improve.

Generating ideas

Defer judgement

There are no bad ideas at this point.
There will be plenty of time to judge ideas later.

Encourage wild ideas

It’s the wild ideas that often create real innovation. It is always easy to bring ideas down to earth later! Build on the ideas of others – think in terms of ‘and’ instead of but’. If you dislike someone’s idea, challenge yourself to build on it and make it better.

Stay focused on the topic

You will get better output if everyone is disciplined.

Be visual

Try to engage the logical and the creative sides of the brain.

One conversation at a time

Allow ideas to be heard and built upon.

Go for quantity

Set a big goal for the number of ideas and surpass it! Remember there is no need to make a lengthy case for your idea since no one is judging. Ideas should flow quickly.


For more information on design thinking please refer to Stanford