The 5 Stages in Design Thinking Process

What is Design Thinking?

A design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems.

Stage 1 — Empathize

Empathy is crucial to Design Thinking. It allows design thinkers to gain insight into others and their needs. A substantial amount of information can be gathered during this stage to then use in the next stage. During this stage a design thinker will gain an empathetic understanding of the problem at hand by observing, engaging and empathizing with others to better understand their experiences and motivations.

Stage 2 — Define

During this stage the design thinkers will put together information they have created and gathered during Stage 1. This will help the design thinkers gather great ideas to establish features, functions, and anything else that will allow them to solve the problems.

Stage 3 — Ideate

At this point design thinkers are ready to start generating ideas. So far they have been able to understand people and their needs during the Empathize stage and they have analyzed their observations to create a problem statement. There are many Ideation techniques such as brainstorm, brain write and worst possible idea. It is important to get as many ideas and problem solutions as possible at the start of this stage.

Stage 4 — Prototype

The design thinkers develop scaled down versions of the product so they can investigate the problem solutions that were generated in the last stage. This is an experimental phase with an aim to identify the best possible solution for any problems that were identified during the first three stages. They are implemented and then accepted, improved, or rejected.

Stage 5 — Test

This is the final stage of the 5 stage model. The results that come from the testing phase can be used to redefine one or more problems. It also can be used to inform the understanding of how people think, behave, and feel.

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