What is Design Thinking – A Complete Overview

Design Thinking is a 5 steps problem-solving technique that helps to drive real innovation into companies. A Design Thinking complete overview is the core of this video.

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✏️ Transcript of the Video

In this video, I will explain what Design Thinking is and how it will help you in the Lean Journey.

Design Thinking is a 5-step process that helps people to come up with creative ideas they think are meaningful for solving problems.

It is proven that this process has helped people worldwide to creatively solve problems and drive real innovation.

It is important to underline that Design Thinking is a problem-solving technique that puts the human at the center of the process.

▶ The steps are:

1. Empathy
2. Define the Problem
3. Idea Generation
4. Prototype
5. Testing

Let us go into more detail.

▶ Step 1 – Empathy

The aim of this step is to observe the process and listen to the people involved in the process.

Whether the process already exists or if it is still to be designed, it is crucial to include the people involved.

For example: If you want to improve an existing production line, the design thinking process suggests observing the process and having conversations with operators, technicians, production managers, etc.

Ideally, you need to do these observations and have these conversations several times, but be sure to ask the right questions, such as:

– What is your need?
– What works in the process?
– What does not work in the process?
– How will you do this differently?

▶ Step 2 – Define the Problem

In this step, you have to see the information you have gotten from the observations and conversations.

Then, you have to go into detail with the data as much as possible.

After this analysis, it is time to write a problem statement.

▶ Step 3 – Idea Generation

In this step, you’ll come up with many ideas that could solve the problem.

It is important to have different people in this step who could help the brainstorming process and help the group to think “outside of the box.” This phrase is called “Divergent Thinking.”

In this phase, the goal is the quantity of the solutions and not the quality.

The following phase of this step is “Convergent Thinking,” where the group has to zoom in on the 2 or 3 solutions that they found most meaningful in terms of costs and benefits.

▶ Step 4 – Prototype

Once you have finalized the 2 or 3 ideas the team considers the best ones to test, it is time to prototype the idea.

Depending on the product you are working on and the time you have, the prototype could be made of cardboard.

The goal is to build something that can be used in reality, a scale of 1 to 1, which will be the best size to test.

▶ Step 5 – Testing

It is time to test the prototype you have built. The test has to be made with the final users.

Here there is a point of attention. If the comments are not positive you could be tent to defend your idea.

Remember, nobody is more clever than your customers, and you are working for them.

So, take the comments as a gift to improve your prototype to a new and improved version.

Repeat the process, starting from the design phase, until you have a product that satisfies your customer’s need.

Well, briefly this is how the Design Thinking process works.

▶ Is Design Thinking still an actual process?

It could be said that the first design company that showed this process worldwide was IDEO in the 1990s.

In 2005, Stanford University began to teach Design Thinking as a generalizable approach to technical and social innovation.

In 2018, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled: “Why Design Thinking Works.”

So, it has been more than 20 years that this process has been getting increasingly more interesting.

▶ Who has to use Design Thinking?

I am sure that every innovative company in the world uses Design Thinking, so whether you’re a designer, a product manager, you will find it useful to use this process.

Moreover, I think that Design Thinking applies to any industry, such as Manufacturing, Banking, Services, e-Commerce, and so on.



my name is Mark Anderson a 20+ year Lean Expert.
I have created LeanVlog because I want to spread Lean Thinking worldwide and I think the video is the most effective way to teach, learn, and spread knowledge.

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