Design Thinking — The Beginners Guide

A non-linear, iterative process to generate innovative and user-centric solutions.

Design Thinking- Author/Copyright holder: Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Design Foundation. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

This post is a public commitment of my stronger self story.

After taking this course I am able to apply Design Thinking to come up with Innovative Ideas to build products or Solve Design Problems

Being a self taught Designer I always had problems in justifying my solutions/design decisions because I was not able to use the correct theory/jargons and terminology.

I am glad I took this course on Design Thinking from Interaction Design Foundation and I feel much confident as a Designer after completing the Certification in Design Thinking.

The idea came to me based on the feedback that I received after I took my ‘First Design Thinking” workshop for a group of college students who were participating in a competition.

The organizers said that this was the best presentation on ‘Design Thinking” we ever had on Design Thinking for a group of users who hardly knew what ‘Design’ is.

The content of the workshop was short, easy and well structure.

They said they will be using my presentation/content to spread the love about ‘Design Thinking

I thought why not make the content available to the entire community.

  • Anyone who wants to know what is Design Thinking
  • Aspiring Designers
  • Experienced Designers
  • Engineers/Developers
  • Product Managers
  • Founders
  • Entrepreneurs

Design Thinking is for everyone and can be applied in kind of projects and at any stage.

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

Read more about Design Thinking

Design Thinking — 5 stage of Design Thinking- Author/Copyright holder: Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Design Foundation. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Design Thinking is non-linear iterative process to come with innovative ideas to meet user needs. It is divided into the following 5 stages:

  1. Empathise — Research your User needs
  2. Define — State your users need’s and problems
  3. Ideate — Challenge assumptions and create ideas
  4. Prototype — Start to create solutions
  5. Test — Try your solutions

Let’s talk a loot at each of these in a little more details.

Empathy — Author/Copyright holder: Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Design Foundation. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. There are many definitions for empathy that encompass a broad range of emotional states. Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and somatic empathy.

Understanding users

  • What they need
  • What they want
  • How they behave
  • How they feel
  • What they said
  • How they think, and
  • Why they demonstrate such behaviors, feelings, and thoughts when interacting with products in a real-world setting.

Methods to build Empathy

Click here to read more Empathy


This is the second stage in the 5 steps Design Thinking process. After you have gathered the user needs from the Empathy stage you start analysing your observations and synthesize them to start defining them to basic user problems and pain points. The definition should be human centric.

Methods to Define Problem

Click here to read more about Define Stage in Design Thinking


Ideation is idea generation.

Design teams typically begin with a structured brainstorming process of “thinking outside the box”. Convergent thinking, on the other hand, aims for zooming and focusing on the different proposals to select the best choice, which permits continuation of the design thinking process to achieve the final goals.

After collecting and sorting lots of ideas, a team goes through a process of pattern finding and synthesis in which it has to translate ideas into insights that can lead to solutions or opportunities for change. These might be either visions of new product offerings, or choices among various ways of creating new experiences.

Ideation Will Help You:

  • Ask the right questions and innovate.
  • Step beyond the obvious solutions and therefore increase the innovation potential of your solution.
  • Bring together perspectives and strengths of team members.
  • Uncover unexpected areas of innovation.
  • Create volume and variety in your innovation options.
  • Get obvious solutions out of your heads, and drive your team beyond them

Ideation Methods to Spark Innovative Ideas

There are hundreds of Ideation methods. Some methods are merely renamed or slightly adapted versions of more foundational techniques. Here you’ll get brief overview of some of the best methods:

Click here to read more about Ideation in Design Thinking


This process is about implementation, when the best ideas generated during ideation are turned into something concrete.

At the core of the implementation process is prototyping: turning ideas into actual products and services that are then tested, evaluated, iterated, and refined. A prototype, or even a rough mock-up helps to gather feedback and improve the idea. Prototypes can speed up the process of innovation because they allow quick identification of strengths and weaknesses of proposed solutions, and can prompt new ideas.

Click here to read more about Prototyping


This is the final phase and the Prototype is rigorously tested by the Designers or evaluators.

Further iterations, alterations and refinements are made depending on the test result by returning to previous stages incase if there is scope of improvement.

Click here to read more Testing

The content of the course has been taken from Interaction Design Foundation website which a Non Profit organisation that has a catalogue of UX Courses for different levels of user.

The content covered in this course will give you enough information to add Design Thinking in the list of your skills.

Feel to ‘Subscribe’ with Interaction Design Foundation to validate your learning and get a industry recognized certificate by answers questions after each topic.

Not only these, you get a 3 months of free Extension once you subscribe for an affordable 1 years membership. You have the freedom to go through as many UX courses you want at your own and at your comfort.

Still not convinced? Click here to check out the 7 reasons why should join Interaction Design Foundation

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Designer — Listener— Writer. A self taught Designer turned Developer.