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The Design Thinking Process Explained

The Design Thinking Process

We’ve kind of been geeking out over design thinking at WE THINQ over the past few months. So much, so that we’ve re-designed our whole platform to incorporate the concepts of design thinking. We hope this will help make your projects more successful. But what exactly is the design thinking process, and how does it work?

The design thinking process varies depending on where you look for answers. There are a few different theories out there, but they are essentially similar. The design thinking process contains 4-5 stages that take a human-centered approach to innovation.


Understand what the challenge is. Don’t think of the problem only from your perspective, but also from the perspective of your clients, customers and community members. The best way to do this is to have some of your community members involved in the process. If that is not possible you can put yourself in their shoes, and observe their experiences. Make sure you do your research before moving on to the next stage!


In this stage, you can look back on your research and develop a framework for solving the problem. Decide which questions you want to be asking and to whom. What form should your project or solution take? Who should be involved in the process? What should the process be?


Once you have outlined your process, it is then time for the brainstorming stage. This is where you invite your team and community members to submit their ideas and brainstorm solutions to your challenge. Participants can then discuss these ideas, and vote on the ones they think best. At the end of this stage, the community or judges will have to choose which ideas to move forward with and which to leave behind for now.


It’s time to put your chosen ideas into action. You can create beta prototypes of your solution whether it is implementing a product or service. Continue to observe the way your customers react to the prototype and add this information to the discovery phase. This will help you continue to better understand your community and you challenge.


Once the testing stage is over, it’s time to test your projects. What worked and what didn’t? Which ideas would you like to continue moving forward with and which are better left behind? Did you learn anything new in the experimentation stage which made you want to start the process over again? Are there any ideas that did not get prototyped but you now think may work well? Evaluate the process and decide how your research and ideas can further evolve to help solve the challenges faced by your community.

Do you want to give design thinking a try? Sign up for our free trial and work through the stages for a challenge that is facing your community.