Design Thinking Approach In Business

Design Thinking Approach In Business

Where ever you go today people talk about the importance of design in modern business environment. Starting with web pages, mobile apps and SaaS, design often plays a key role in success or failure of the product.

Steve Jobs was one of the people who are creditable for design renaissance. He encouraged buyers to expect products that not only look good, but are also designed to be practical. It’s true that a great design makes things more attractive and useful and makes a user more productive.

Some of the world’s leading brands such as Apple, Google, Samsung and GE adopted this approach fast. Today, design thinking approach is learned on Universities around the world, including Stanford, Harvard and MIT.

But firstly, what is design thinking approach and why is it so popular? Because of the extraordinary success of companies that are guided by design, it developed greatly outside the box.

Organisations want to learn to think like designers and to use design principles on their working place.

In this article, I will describe what is design thinking approach and which role it has in business.


According to Interaction Design Foundation, design thinking is: iterative process in which we try to understand the user, cause assumptions and redefine problems in attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that are maybe not immediately seen.

Tim Brown, executive director of IDEO, defined it as:

“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.”

Both definitions are a bit complicated, so let’s define it simpler:

Design thinking is a process and a set of tools with inovative ideas that are desirable to users, sustainable for organisations and technically deductible.

Design thinking is based on users needs. For that reason it is really similar to User experience.

Noticed problem or challenge is redesigned. Also, it encourages collaborative, multidisciplinary team work, so that skills, personalities and way of thinking is used to solve multiple problems. 

Lastly, convergent method of thinking is used to solve some problems. After that, solutions are tested and one solution is chosen after recurrent informations from users.

Design thinking is always makes a user number one, that’s why it chooses the best solutions for their needs.


These days, there are a lot of design thinking process variants, and most commonly they have from 3 to 7 phases or steps. All the variants are similar.

We will now talk about six phases of models the NN Group described, and are made of the following phases:

EMPATHY: make a research to develop knowledge about what your users are talking about, thinking and feeling.

DEFINING (the problem): combine all your researches and watch where are your users problems placed. By determining needs of your users, start making possibilities for innovations. 

IDEATION: after you understood your users and their needs, define the problem they are confronting with and think about innovative ideas to solve the problem.

PROTOTYPE: make a realistic prototype for your ideas and take intern feedback.

TEST: Ask your users for feedbacks. Try to determine if your solution is solving problems that users have and does it make their user experience better.

IMPLEMENTATION: make sure that your solution is materialised and makes your UE better.

Although these phases are primarily used in web design, principles that are beside them can be used in organisation as an innovative approach to solving the problem.


You don’t have to be a designer to think think this way. Design principle can be used for an entire organisation as a way of solving problems in business.