My Initial Understanding of Design Thinking

I just started a course in Design Thinking as an elective for this semester. I have been hearing about Design Thinking for some time now, but over my summer internship somebody recommended to do some course as he thinks it is very useful for a product manager role. I thought I would write down what I think Design Thinking is at the beginning of my course. Then in December when the course ends, I will come back and see how my thinking about Design Thinking has changed. So, here is what I think:

Design thinking is not just about making pretty products. I would say that comes near the end of the process.

  • Firstly, better understand the customer need/person who you are solving problem for. Sometimes the person herself doesn’t know a problem exists. You need to go through their experiences to uncover potential pain points
  • Then you go through rapid prototyping and iterations in a team of people with diverse backgrounds, where everyone bring their own perspective and ideas about how to solve the identified problem
  • Lastly, after you have build the prototype, you want to get the feedback from the customer – whether it solves their problem, do they like using it, do they have any recommendation to improve.

I just want to say something about the last point above. In big firms, you would not take a prototype to the customer as such. Firms usually do some kind of A/B testing, where they would embed certain metrics to monitor user behavior. This provides customer insights and feedback on what features customer like/dislike and where the engagement is coming from. Many times firms also use focus group studies to get initial feedback and prioritize features accordingly.


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