5 Stages of the Design Thinking Process

Design thinking process is a way to solve problems through several steps, from understanding a problem to finding the solution.

These stages are not just random steps that happen, but a process that happens in order to produce a viable solution.

According to Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Standford, the design thinking process comprises five stages: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

This series of steps can apply to many different problems and situations, but they work especially well when applied to innovation projects.

1. Empathize

During this stage, you will think about the problem and understanding what is going on.

The people behind the problem — the customers, employees, and any other group that is involved — need to be considered at this stage.

Gather significant insights about users. This will help to make the final product more relevant for a particular group of people.

2. Define

Clarifying the root cause of the problem using a design thinking approach is a step towards understanding the problem.

You need to come up with a clear definition of the problem so that you can understand how to solve it. Consider all feasible solutions, analyze their pros and cons, and choose one of them as the final solution.

5 Stages of the Design Thinking Process
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3. Ideate

The nature of design thinking requires you to come up with new and alternative solutions on how to solve the problem. The intended solutions are not just random, but they should be innovative, creative, and useful.

Your target users will be your guide in this stage, and their needs will be very helpful in coming up with creative solutions that are useful and efficient.

4. Prototype

A prototype is just a mock-up of your product and it should be in a form of a working prototype or in an early design phase.

Since you’re still experimenting, you can use any prototype as a testing tool for your product.

You can begin with a paper prototype and then move on to the finished product.

A prototype helps to validate your ideas and identify potential problems before you move into user testing. This stage also helps to identify and test the best ideas to solve the problem.

5. Test

Whether it’s user experience, usability, or design, you will test everything to check the product’s effectiveness. This is also the stage where you can see whether your idea has the potential to develop further or not.

If you have come up with a great idea and the problem seems to be solvable, it’s time to move on to the next step.

However, if there are some issues with your prototype or product, it’s time to figure out how to fix them before moving forward.

This process is similar to how a company like Google works on products like Gmail, Chrome browser, and Android mobile operating system.

They iterate on their products and make them better through several stages of user testing.

5 Stages of the Design Thinking Process
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Mastering Design Thinking Stages

Following the principles of design thinking can help you find solutions to the problem in a better way. Also, it will definitely help you develop your product or service better.

In fact, this human-centered design thinking process helps you to find the right idea that works for the target audience and comes up with an insightful design and solution.

While doing this process, you should always think of your target audience and how they can use your product or service best.

The target audience will determine how effective your product or service is in solving their problem and how they can use it to get their desired results.

About the Author

I hope that my post has helped you know more about Design Thinking Process. Feel free to leave a comment and tag me and I will answer them. Follow my profile to get the latest content I post to stay ahead of the curve.

I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies, a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces, and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.

Connect with me on LinkedIn if you have further questions. Let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.

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Alexander Lim

Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and investor.