What is Design Thinking?

In one word, Design Thinking is a method... that allows us to solve problems with a user-focused approach
November 2018

In one word, Design Thinking is a methodology. If we further expand the definition, we understand it as a work methodology that allows us to solve problems from a client / user-centered perspective, or as we like to call it in Lantern, Persona. After all, it’s about designing solutions for people, regardless of their relationship with the product or service.

Design Thinking began to develop theoretically at the University of Stanford in California from the 70s, but its first application was carried out by IDEO design consultancy, today being its main pioneer along with Tim Brown, CEO of the company.

Far from being an abstract methodology, and although there are multiple approaches, there are generally five clearly differentiated phases established within the process, which are following:

1. Empathize: put yourself in someone else’s shoes, ask a lot about why and discover relevant insights.

2. Definition of the problem: synthesize what has been learned and determine the challenge to be solved, based on the needs and insights discovered.

3. Solution design: it is time to think about how to solve our challenge. In this phase, several premises should be assumed: 1) Quantity over quality and 2) Having multidisciplinary teams that provide different views enriches the process.

4. Prototype of solutions: make the winning ideas or ideas with potential (either physically or digitally) tangible in such a way that they can serve to improve our solutions and steer our ideas in the right direction.

5. Evaluation and Testing: check if our solutions really meet the needs of the people for whom we design. It is a key phase in the process, because it gives us clues about which elements fail, where changes should be made and if we have to return to an earlier phase.

Within the aforementioned methodology there are numerous tools for each of the phases mentioned. Below you can find a manual by the pioneer school in this discipline, the d.school, in which some of the most common techniques are completed.

Carmen Castillo
Consultant