design thinking steps

An entrepreneur is already a design thinker at heart. Knowingly or not, design thinking steps are implemented in their work. They look for solutions to their problems and come up with innovative ideas. Entrepreneurs are naturally empathetic to customer needs since they are creating a new product or service. Their curiosity allows them to look at things unconventionally. Thus, allowing them to create an innovative startup. But what exactly are the steps followed? And how can you implement these steps in your startup?

Let us take a look at how you can implement design thinking steps in your startup.

1. Observe with Empathy

The first step in implementing design thinking steps in your startup is to empathize with your customers and users. Empathizing allows you to understand their perspective and understand what they want to gain from the product or service that you are offering. To understand a users point of view, you need to learn more about the challenges they are facing. 

An example of a startup that has accomplished this step is UberEats. They have implemented design thinking steps to understand what their customers may want to eat, what their preferences are when it comes to ordering food, and how the restaurant prepares the food. UberEats runs its operations in over 500 cities globally and yet focuses on interacting with their customers. The startup works towards paying regular visits to delivery partners and associated restaurants. If you are looking to implement this step in your startup, you can interview your potential customers or work towards empathizing through observation. This allows you to get a closer look at what solutions may work for them. 

2. Define the problem

Understanding your customers’ problems first is an essential step to follow. It allows you to review your hypotheses and understand how you can refine your problem-solving methods and approach them for a different perspective. Continuing with the example we looked at in the previous step, the designers at UberEats are encouraged to look at how their customers place orders. They observe each step in the process. This helps them in selecting the conclusions based on insights that are gathered from real customers who are using the product. 

3. Ideate with your team

One of the most important design thinking steps and the next stage in the process is to ideate solutions for the problem at hand. Taking the same example of UberEats, members from different teams are encouraged to work together and come up with ideas. This brings in different perspectives and makes room for improvement. The ideation process has led to virtual restaurants and pooled deliveries. 

4. Prototype Rapidly 

A prototype acts as a base to test your ideas quickly, thus allowing you to learn fast and build your idea on a strong foundation. As an individual who is looking to establish a new startup, it is important to develop a culture of experimentation. UberEats initially launched the most popular items feature as an experiment at the Toronto operations team. Soon after realising the potential and value of this feature, the developers and the design team collaborated to further develop the idea and launch it globally. 

5. Test and Validate

By now, you might have noticed that design thinking is in fact an iterative process. The previous design thinking steps allow you to learn from your mistakes if you may have misinterpreted customer behaviour or their needs. You might learn that the solution you choose doesn’t address your customer’s problem most efficiently. It may not address their needs and wants. At a point like this, it would make sense to go back to your previous steps and approach the process with a different perspective. To build a startup successfully, it takes time and effort. Continue changing your ideas and experimenting until you reach the end goal. 

Design thinking, if implemented well, can be a very powerful tool. You can unlock your startups full creative potential, and provide your customers with the best solutions. We hope that this blog on how to implement design thinking steps in your startup helps you. If you are looking to upskill and would like to learn more about design thinking, join Stanford GSB Executive Education’s Design Thinking course in collaboration with Great Learning.

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