top of page

An introduction to design thinking

How can you better understand the issues that arise from the approach to innovation?

Learn the basics of Design Thinking in this article.

Design Thinking – a method, a process, or a mindset?

You might ask the question; what is Design Thinking? And if that question popped into your mind, then it is okay. It is typically a phrase that is only well-known inside design circles. The phrase has made its way around business networks and is becoming more and more hyped, as technology has gained interest.

Today’s global marketplaces are easily accessible for consumers, and because the distinction between physical and digital experiences are almost non existing, the companies run into difficulties. Services and products may drown in all the competitors, which makes it hard to stand out from the rest. With this presented complication, the importance and value of the concept Design Thinking, shines through. This concept represents a design driven process, where the customer is the number one priority and the Design Thinking culture provides real and measurable results. In the end, this will give companies a distinct competitive advantage. But what is Design Thinking more concrete? How it is used? The most important thing to understand about Design Thinking is, the latter word, namely thinking. Some might say it is a process or a practical method, but first of all it is a mindset – a way of approaching problems. Furthermore, methods and processes have been created to help with the application of Design Thinking, however the most important aspect to understand the key principles and the infusion of these into how you think and work.

There are different variations of the key principles, but it can be summed up to the following points: Design Thinking is human centred, which means that it is based on affinity and an understanding of the user of the product or service. This is done through research such as observations, interactions including quantitative and qualitative methods. The knowledge you gain from this research, will become the foundation from where you can address the challenge. You will need to analyse and interpret the findings from your research, which will then be translated into a defined plan addressing the design which can impact user experience. Once you have understood your target group, Design Thinking becomes creative and playful, as you can break out of restrictive environments with brainstorming and exploring several possibilities.


The first step is to keep challenging and reframing the problem. In practice, this can be done with a quick brainstorm where you write down 100 ideas and solutions on the problem you have and thereafter sort them in related themes. Right after this, you make a prototype. It can be anything from a sketch on a piece of paper to a clickable digital interface or a strategic method. And what do you do with prototypes? You test them on the user. Test, iterate, test. And when you are done testing, then test again. The earlier and more often, the better. Testing is an essential part, as it provides feedback to refine the prototype. The ideas are here at the prototype stage, which makes Design Thinking prototype driven.

By implementing Design Thinking as a strategic tool in the process, the process is kept innovative, progressive and not too controlled. Too much reflection, control and consciousness in the beginning steps of the idea generating process, might make the process to closed and not so innovative. Design Thinking is therefore a way of challenging your mind which makes the ideas and solutions will be more iterative.

You might think it sounds easy, but these key principles are an efficient mindset in Design Thinking. Design Thinking in its nature is easily done, but good Design Thinking is a whole other story. It is a mindset you have to keep practicing a lot of times before the good results emerge. And the fact that you are not from the insider design circles, is it not designers’ exclusive property. All great innovators in science, literature, engineering, social science, and business have been practicing it. So what are you waiting for?

Want to know more?

If you want more practical experience and knowledge about Design Thinking, join our next event tuesday the 19th of March 16:00 – 17:00 at ITU here. We have invited Susanne Krogh-Hansen from Ørsted and she will take you through the basics of Design Thinking.

Sources:IBM Accenture

bottom of page