The 5 Steps of Design Thinking.

July 23, 2022

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking put simply is a creative problem-solving methodology that is used to understand the user, challenge assumptions, redefine problems & produce and test innovative solutions.

It’s considered by many, the best methodology for producing innovative solutions. It helps us re-frame problems to be more human-centric, enabling us to focus on the elements that are most important to users.  As technology advances, behaviours evolve and need change. teams can uncover new ways to better serve users through Design thinking.

What are the steps of Design Thinking?

Design thinking is best described as a 5 stage process. The process is non-linear, with stages being revisited many times before the Solution is perfected. Teams can use the process in a way that suits them and their product best.

Step 1: Empathise

This stage is all about understanding all you can about a specific problem area. This is where we want to let go of assumptions and instead gain insights from users. Who are they? What do they think? what do they feel and want?

Step 2: Define

Once we understand the user and the problem area, it’s time to define the core problems.

These are the problems, that if solved, will bring the most benefit for users. This approach allows us to prioritise which problems to tackle for maximum efficiency.

Step 3: Ideate

The goal of the ideation stage is to generate as many solutions as possible to tackle the chosen problems. This is the time to challenge assumptions, so don’t judge any ideas as bad yet. Even the weaker ideas can teach us something later.

Sketches from an ideation workshop.

Step 4: Prototype

This stage is all about Bringing the strongest ideas to life. Begin creating low-cost prototypes. These could be scaled-down or only have specific features. As you learn you should be creating better more informed versions.


An example of some 3d printed prototypes for user testing.

Step 5: Test

This stage is about trying out your ideas with users and making sure it actually works. By watching how users interact and behave with your product, we can learn of any flaws in the design. using this information we can revise the design to make it stronger.

In some cases, we might learn that the solution doesn’t work. If that’s the case we can revisit over solutions that we created in the ideation stage. Remember that finding a solution that doesn’t work is not a failure. Learning that a solution doesn’t work early on stops us from wasting time and money.


Design thinking is a valuable set of tools for anyone trying to solve complicated, ill-defined or ambiguous problems. It’s important to remember that the design process is iterative, meaning you can revisit any stage as and when needed.

We hope this article was helpful,

If you need help solving a design challenge, feel free to contact us.