DBE Design Thinking Process

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process which seeks to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test.



Design Thinking is:

  • A solutions-based approach to solving problems.
  • An iterative, non-linear process.
  • A way of thinking and working.
  • Supported by a collection of strategies and methods.


Design Thinking asks us to:

  • Develop empathy and understand the needs of the people we are designing solutions for.
  • Define problems and opportunities for designing solutions.
  • Generate and visualize creative ideas.
  • Develop prototypes.
  • Test solutions and seek feedback.


Over recent decades, it has become crucial to develop and refine skills which allow us to understand and act on rapid changes in our environment and behavior. The world has become increasingly interconnected and complex, and design thinking offers a means to grapple with all this change in a more human-centric manner.


Design teams use design thinking to tackle ill-defined or unknown problems (otherwise known as wicked problems) because the process reframes these problems in human-centric ways, and allows designers to focus on what’s most important for users. Design thinking offers us a means to think outside the box and also dig that bit deeper into problem solving. It helps designers carry out the right kind of research, create prototypes and test out products and services to uncover new ways to meet users’ needs.


The design thinking process has become increasingly popular over the last few decades because it was key to the success of many high-profile, global organizations—companies such as Google, Apple and Airbnb have wielded it to notable effect, for example. This outside the box thinking is now taught at leading universities across the world and is encouraged at every level of business.


Design thinking improves the world around us every day because of its ability to generate ground-breaking solutions in a disruptive and innovative way. Design thinking is more than just a process, it opens up an entirely new way to think, and offers a collection of hands-on methods to help you apply this new mindset.