There are some much about this type of making design.
I guess it has become spreadably popular by Tim Brown from IDEO and his book. It obviously happened to be a very corporative kind of approach as we can see in the book, where there are several examples of big brands / companies that decided to change their methodology in order to achieve different targets and innovate the concept of Design itself, as Brown states.
Although the methodology has reached different levels and direction, resulting in being a model and, nonetheless, a reference in terms of Design Methodology, in which implies the user to be the centered in the process, exploring and immersing in their context, mindset and experience.
The macro process can be summed up by this chart:
One can argue that it is the process every or almost all the UX Designers use already, however it is also acceptable to say that not all of them are actually including the personas — by this, I mean REAL PERSONAS. It is undoubtedly that experiences are made based on users, people; however there are not much research in this field, besides Usability Test, Card Sorting, and all those tests already made by Usability Consultants.
Design Thinking is actually offering another option to test the product and an opportunity to interview the users, observe how they interact / react before the experience.