By Jesse Ocean  |   15th March 18

what is design

What is Design? Unlocking Design Thinking for the Future

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is one of the brainstorming processes that promise to solve complex problems in a manageable way. It’s a formal approach used by designers for useful, resourceful resolution of glitches for the client. While Business owners often question the relevance of design thinking it plays a vital role in helping organisations identify new opportunities and unlock innovation to help them improve their services and products.

Most of the successful companies like Coca-Cola have implemented the use of design thinking in the drive to acquire a competitive advantage, they have applied it to make and offer advanced services and products. In any business, design thinking serves as an instrument to unlock cultural transformation, it makes organisations more responsible, malleable and approachable to their clients.

What is design thinking? – The Elements

To understand design thinking this article discusses some of the elements that are vital to the process. Even though some of its key doctrines might differ based on the way they are applied, the basic rudiments of design thinking will always remain the same. The elements include:

Examining and outlining the problem

This element exposes research methods centred on the user, such as ethnographic analysis, which will help you understand your clients and users. The primary goal of this procedure is to fully understand the individuals for whom you are designing.


The primary goal of this phase in the thinking process is to create numerous ideas that bring potential solutions. The techniques used in this phase include brainstorming, sketching and mind mapping to build viable ideas.

Prototyping and Iterating

To make your concepts a reality it is essential to design a progression of thinking. Your ideas are tested and refined through repeating the idea from many angles and prototyping as the element responsible for pushing the making procedure forward. You will need to generate models for your rudimentary designs created from your best ideas from the previous brainstorming phase. To appropriately appraise a design idea, you will need to place it in a similar environment and context to the one in which you intend to implement it. Good prototypes are the ones that convey a clean and simple flow-through experience.

How design thinking can be useful to your organisation

Design thinking provides an innovative way of thinking and solving the problems and questions you face in your day-to-day activities. It goes beyond the traditional cocoon with vial thinking, innovation and creativity, helping you to get new resolutions to old problems. Or simply finding a better and easy way of doing things. Once you understand how design thinking works you will be able to question your assumptions and change them at will. You will be able to change all those irritating inefficiencies in your business.

You can use design thinking technique in any field, not just the design or tech industries. Industries like healthcare, financial services, government or non-profit can implement this technique. For this reason, any industry is ripe for this type of innovation. Here are some of the reasons to use design thinking in guiding your daily activities.

  • What is design thinking’s emphasis on the end user?

Design thinking is a technique that is used to solve issues that place the final consumer at the focal point of the procedure. As a service provider, you aim to create expedient products and resolutions that fit the requirements of the user and vice versa. As the procedure is human-centred, it helps you to get closer to the user to find out how you can transform their lifestyles and generally make life more satisfying for them.

  • Design thinking helps in leveraging collective skills

By creating multidisciplinary groups with a number of idea designers at the table, you will be able to break out of your respective field, and boxes, to leverage your collective wisdom, experience, and skills. The aim of the exercise is to bring numerous experts with many and various ideas to the table and explore them.

  • Design thinking employs empathy

The basic foundation of design thinking is empathy, something that is referred to as discovery or understanding. Releasing empathy in people during the process of design thinking gives them the means to understand and identify with the consumers using your products and services.

  • Design thinking helps test your ideas

The philosophy of design-test and iterate, or repeat-test, is vital to the process of design thinking. Before spending a lot of time, energy or resources on any business concept you will have thoroughly tested your ideas. Even though the design thinking process is somehow scruffier than the traditional analytical and linear techniques of solving problems, it offers an interesting and more powerful outcome.

  • Design thinking helps to create value as you solve real problems

Design thinking does not involve creativity and modernisation for its sake, it is specifically focused on creating value and solving real problems. Unlike the traditional ways, design thinking uses design principles when it comes to solving problems in almost any industry. By repeatedly engaging in design thinking, you can unlock your inner designer, a part of you that you may not have known existed before. Using design thinking could be taking the first step you need to unlock your potential, solve your business problems and get creative.

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