Use Design Thinking Methodologies to address Real World Problems

A lot of stuff regarding design thinking is available at internet; Even Universities are offering courses/certificates and making money. Anyhow, I would like to share some tips based on my personal experience; how you can use these methodologies to better address any real world problem. Learn by doing is very much appreciated so if you want to get expertise in it then you have to practice it!

It is also called human-centered design which is a “practical, repeatable approach to arriving at innovative solutions. Think of these Methods as a step-by-step guide to unleashing your creativity, putting the people you serve at the center of your design process to come up with new answers to difficult problems.”

We will discuss in detail about these following 5 step representation of Design Thinking which is owned by IDEO.


Suppose, you have a problem statement e.g. (Redesign the Umbrella, Design a dream car etc.) . First of all, you have figure out the problem statement and define the problem in detail like Einstein said : “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.” Then you prepare yourself to hit the customer/user of that product to get the deep insight of it, this is called Empathize.

At start of any activity, prepare your mind through practice in such a way that when you Switch it ON the Empathize button then your mind only think/explore about empathizing your segment market, focus on observing the customers/user and act like a child to get most of the relevant information from your targeted audience but the important step to remember here is that you stop/hold your mind to dive into other Modes /Sates e.g. Define/Ideate. Because, as soon as mind face a problem it’s start searching the similar patterns and thinking about it’s solutions and once it gets something in it then it’s hard to convince it that I didn’t get the whole input regarding the problem.

Normally, in Empathize mode, when you talk to people, your mind is thinking of next question you are going to put not focusing on the content of the answer, how he is saying and feelings etc. In Empathize, what you can do is; write down the questions come up in your mind first and then focus on talking with your customer and ask questions like a 4 year baby, why this why that and don’t feed the customer, listen patiently what he thinks/ feels, his pain areas, his wish lists. Either you can record the interview or takes notes but it’s better if you focus on your customer and your team mate take the notes, which will be required for further analysis.

When you start defining the real problems, and discussing how you win the heart & mind of the people you met, hold your mind to go/slip into to ideate State and tell your mind to be patient; we have a brainstorming session for innovation/ideating later. Whole team should go through all the points, tools like Empathy Map, Customer Journey Map, Composite Character can be used fly on wall analysis. The more effort you put in defining the problem, you will get better ideas in next mode which is ideate.

In Ideate Phase, ask your team to think and share the ideas, who we can solve the problems, appreciate wild ideas, don’t negate any idea just make a list and once your team get out of ideas put some catalyst in it and ideas will start coming again! Then keeping in mind the next state which is prototype, choose the primary ideas on which you can make a prototype (it can be a paper prototype) and get back to your customers/users and record their feedback, this is a cyclic process until unless customers/users are happy!

This practice should be carried out during Design thinking and your team should practice these steps to furnish these skills and get expertise.Business Model Canvass and Value Proposition Canvasses are also the good tools to integrate customer’s needs, their pain and gain areas.

Refernce Book: Detail about Design Thinking


To be continued……


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