design thinking ice berg
Design Thinking ice berg

What is Design Thinking?

We are at a critical point where rapid change is forcing us to look not just at new ways of solving problems but to new problems to solve. Technology still has not run its course. The communications revolution sparked by the Internet has brought people closer together and given them the opportunity to share perspectives and create new ideas as ever before. A purely techno-centric view of innovation is less sustainable now than ever, and a management philosophy based only on selecting from existing strategies is likely to be overwhelmed by new developments at home or abroad. What we need are new choices – new products that balance the needs of individuals and of society as a whole; What we need is an approach to innovation that is powerful, effective, and broadly accessible, that can be integrated into all aspects of business and society, and that individuals and teams can use to generate breakthrough ideas that are implemented and that therefore have an impact. Design thinking… offers just such an approach. By integrating what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and  economically viable, designers have been able to create the best solutions.

Design thinking taps into capacities we all have but that are overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It is not only human-centered; it is deeply human in and of itself.

Design Thinking is a methodology to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for Clients.

The Design-Thinking ideology asserts that a hands-on, user-centric approach to problem solving can lead to innovation, and innovation can lead to differentiation and a competitive advantage.


It is a common misconception that design thinking is new. Design has been practiced for ages: monuments, bridges, automobiles, subway systems are all end-products of design processes. Throughout history, good designers have applied a human-centric creative process to build meaningful and effective solutions.

“While the buzzword is new, Design Thinking is not”

The notion of design as a “way of thinking” in the sciences can be traced to Herbert A. Simon’s 1969 book The Sciences of the Artificial, and in design engineering to Robert McKim’s 1973 book Experiences in Visual Thinking. Bryan Lawson’s 1980 book How Designers Think, primarily addressing design in architecture, began a process of generalising the concept of design thinking.

Why it is Important?

design thinking approach
Design Thinking approach

“Design thinking is simply an approach to problem solving, it increases the probability of success and breakthrough innovation.”

With Design Thinking Stages

  • Problems can be framed
  • The right questions can be asked
  • More ideas can be created
  • The best answers can be chosen


Less Time for Planning, more time for Doing

Empathy phase in Design Thinking

“To create meaningful innovations, you need to know your users and care about their lives.”


Define phase in Design Thinking

“Framing the right problem is the only way to create the right solution.”


Ideate phase in Design Thinking

 “It’s not about coming up with the right idea, it’s about generating the broadest range of possibilities.”


Prototype phase in Design Thinking

“Build to think and test to learn.”


Test phase in Design Thinking

“Testing is an opportunity to learn about your solution and your user.”

Don’t think of it as if it were a proscribed step-by-step recipe for success. Instead, use it as scaffolding to support you when and where you need it.

“Be a master chef, not a line cook: take the recipe as a framework, then tweak as needed.”

“What’s radical about design thinking is the way that it’s been packaged into something really attractive and accessible. When some students walk into a class, their first reaction is ‘Oh, my God,’ and for others, it’s like, ‘Yeah, exactly.’ Design thinking is either totally mind-blowing—or entirely validating.”

Why should we care?

“Realize the difference being a designer, thinking like a designer.”

An Example of Problem solving: The Encumbered Vs. The Fresh Mind

Thinking outside of the box can provide an innovative solution to a sticky problem. However, thinking outside of the box can be a real challenge as we naturally develop patterns of thinking that are modelled on the repetitive activities and commonly accessed knowledge, we surround ourselves with.

“Thinking about the way you think and process problems and solutions can help you develop better answers.”

Some years ago, an incident occurred where a truck driver who had tried to pass under a low bridge. But he failed, and the truck was lodged under the bridge. The driver was unable to continue driving through or reverse out.The story goes that as the truck became stuck, it caused massive traffic problems, which resulted in emergency personnel, engineers, firefighters, and truck drivers gathering to negotiate various solutions to dislodging the truck.

truck was lodged under the bridge
truck was lodged under the bridge

Emergency workers were debating whether to dismantle parts of the truck or chip away at parts of the bridge. Each spoke of a solution which fitted within his or her respective level of expertise.

A boy walking by and witnessing the intense debate looked at the truck, at the bridge, then looked at the road and said nonchalantly, “Why not just let the air out of the tires?” to the absolute amazement of all the specialists and experts trying to unpick the problem.

When the solution was tested, the truck was able to drive free with ease, having suffered only the damage caused by its initial attempt to pass underneath the bridge. The story symbolizes the struggles we face where oftentimes the most obvious solutions are the ones hardest to come by because of the self-imposed constraints we work within.

“It’s often difficult for us humans to challenge our assumptions and everyday knowledge, because we rely on building patterns of thinking in order to not have to learn everything from scratch every time. We rely on doing everyday processes more or less unconsciously — for example, when we get up in the morning, eat, walk, and read — but also when we assess challenges at work and in our private lives. Especially experts and specialists rely on their solid thought patterns, and it can be very challenging and difficult for experts to start questioning their knowledge.”


“A Methodology for innovation that combines creative & analytical approaches and requires collaboration across disciplines.”

Why should we introduce a new way to think about product development? There are numerous reasons to engage in design thinking, enough to merit a standalone article, but in summary, design thinking achieves all these advantages at the same time

  • It is a user-centered process that starts with user data, creates design artifacts that address real and not imaginary user needs, and then tests those artifacts with real users.
  • It leverages collective expertise and establishes a shared language and buy-in amongst your team.
  • It encourages innovation by exploring multiple avenues for the same problem.