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Growing a business, creating a new product, setting up a website. In each of these cases, we strive to make everything perfect. Based on our own beliefs, we create and bring our projects to life. Unfortunately, often during this whole process we forget about people, our audience. What do they want and need? 


The way to get the best results may be through design thinking. What is this method? How was it developed? What are its advantages? 

Let's check it out!

What is Design Thinking?


Design thinking is a creative method of developing new products and services or solutions. It is based on a deep analysis of the problem and understanding the recipient. The motto of design thinking is "doing, not talking". To get results, you have to act. It's a multistep process that leads to a creative solution to an issue. 


Where did Design Thinking come from?


Design thinking started in the late 80s and early 90s. But the concept itself and the need for change came earlier. Most likely the first to use the term was Bruce Arche, in his book "Experiences in Visual Thinking".

It was at Stanford University in California, however, that the first steps were taken. Among the main creators of design thinking is David Kelley. He was a professor at Stanford and co-founder of IDEO. 

An important part of the design thinking method is the Institute of Design - d.school, established in 2004 at Stanford University. Its European counterpart is the HPI School of Design Thinking, established in Potsdam.  


Why was Design Thinking introduced?


It was simply necessary to change the workflow between the client and the person doing the project.

Previously, some companies would come in with an almost finished product that only needed to be framed or advertised, and in the meantime it would turn out that the bugs discovered were no longer fixable. It also happened that something had a lot of potential, but its underdeveloped model was already at too advanced a production stage and there was no chance to introduce improvements. 

Now, before the final 'product' is created, it must first be carefully thought out and developed. Thanks to this solution, we are able to draw as much potential as possible from the project. 

Using design thinking, new products and services are created for companies such as Apple, Shimano and General Electric.

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Stages of Design Thinking




Empathy is the ability to empathize with someone's situation, to understand why they are this way and not that way.

This is also what we should do during this stage - get to know our recipient's situation, their needs, wants and beliefs. 

We can do this in many ways. When running a baby pram store and planning to create a new model, we can ask for feedback from our current consumers - it can be a form, an email or a simple face-to-face conversation. The important thing is to get to the need. Let's not be afraid to ask questions - "Why?" 

By understanding the needs and difficulties our audience is facing, we are able to track down the main problem and move on to solve it. 


Defining the problem


When we understand our recipient - we know what he requires, what he has, and what he still lacks. How he or she views a given topic. Having these details, we are able to more precisely identify the source of the issue, which should now be taken into account.


Idea generation


The next step in design thinking, once the issue has been identified, is to look for solutions. The best way to do this is to brainstorm with the whole team working on the project. It's important to approach this with an open mind - quite spontaneously. We don't have to think about whether a given idea is good or bad, or set our minds to choosing the one that belongs to us. We simply give ideas that can help solve an established problem.


Prototyping facilities


In the prototyping stage we don't have to create big functional projects - very basic ones, which will present the initial solution, will suffice. It can be, for example, a cardboard project.

At this point we are not supposed to make it work any more, but we need to check if such a solution will be useful for the user and if it will help to achieve our goal. 

With this approach, we won't waste our work on a design that ultimately proves impractical.




It's in the whole process of design thinking where we test our results, or rather not us, but the people for whom it was created. We give them our 'product' and check how and if it works in reality.


When and who can use design thinking?


We use the method of design thinking in many ways. Theoretically, it can work in every case. Certainly at the time of larger projects, looking for solutions to a problem. An example might be, the establishment of a new brand or rebranding, but when designing a website it is also worth using design thinking. 

There are also no restrictions as to who can use this solution - it can be a corporation, an agency, a local company, or even an individual. This doesn't change the fact that when going through the stages of 'design thinking' it is very useful to work as a team, where everyone brings something different.


Design thinking in web design 


Creating a website itself shouldn't be difficult, but the design process can make some people uncomfortable. Regardless of whether the site is created for yourself or commissioned, you need to think about for whom it is created. Of course, you need to take into account the target group and personas, but in order to stand out from others and at the same time not lose functionality of the site, it is worth going through the stages of design thinking. 

During the testing phase, by putting the basic design of a website into the hands of potential users, we are able to get their feedback and make improvements. Thanks to design thinking, we can save time and money.


Make sure to read the following articles:




Authors: Kaja Rowicka, Paula NIziołek


17 December 2021

Design Thinking - what it is and how to use it?

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