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  • Writer's pictureMasa Okunishi

What is design thinking anyway?

Today many blogs, technology websites and news outlets are writing about startups, design thinking and innovation. A lot of new words are being used like design sprint and MVP. But what does it all mean? We’ll unravel these new words and show you how to participate in new design efforts.

Let’s begin with Design Thinking.

When you put the words “design” and “thinking” together they suggest someone imagining a beautiful chair or maybe a designer daydreaming.

But design thinking really is:

- a proven, reliable and repeatable method of solving problems

- a series of steps that any business or profession can use to think like designers

- using design principles to bring together what is desirable from a human point of view plus what is technologically feasible plus what is economically viable.

It is useful to think like a designer because this can transform the way any organization develops products, services, processes, and strategy. It can even be used to change the way a workplace operates!

So design thinking allows people who aren't trained as designers, to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.

What is the Design Thinking process?

Design thinking contains 5 basic steps in this order: Empathy, Define, Design, Prototype & Iterate. Here’s how they fit together:

  1. Empathy is achieved by researching what people do as they go about normal activities.

  2. We then Define the problems people have while going about their normal activities.

  3. Design is solving a problem, by using the research we collected.

  4. Prototyping is creating and testing a product.

  5. Iterating is repeating Design and Prototype over and over to create the best possible product we can. Design Thinking incorporates User Research, in order to find Patterns that create User Behavior that informs our Designs.

Would you like to read more about Design Thinking?

Do you have a product, service or business idea? Join us for a Design Thinking workshop and learn how to make it real! Offered by @ifconnyc and facilitated by

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