Design Thinking - Onboarding, Implementation, and Roadblocks

Design thinking is a creative and innovative way to fight through the actual discomfort that a consumer faces while consuming the product. It includes the assumptions an organization might have regarding its consumers and their consumption. It is also known as a customer-centric, strategic, cognitive, and innovative approach.

Benefits of Design Thinking in Today’s Era

Instead of spending time and effort on research and development or market surveys, big companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others now prefer design thinking. It is being empathetic with the consumer throughout their purchasing, usage, and after-consumption stages. Design thinking helps in,

Introducing innovations

A designer who is observing the consumer throughout the consumption stage might be able to better understand what new features would help increase customer satisfaction. It challenges the company's assumptions about what a consumer needs by observing their actual needs. As a result, its product becomes more appealing to the consumer.

Solving issues

A consumer is a layman in most cases. They might face unforeseen or unbelievable issues from a technical expert's point of view. Hence, design thinking helps in understanding the real issues faced and, hence, the solution.

Discomfort unknown to the consumer

It is difficult to explain or even understand the discomfort that a person might be facing sometimes. Design thinking helps ease those discomforts because now an expert is observing the consumption cycle from a neutral point of view.

Relevant Prototyping and Testing

This gives more relevant feedback because the theories and assumptions are at a minimum now. The product is given to a layperson to use, and changes are made based on their feedback.

Design Thinking and Implementation

We now have a clear understanding of what design thinking is and the advantages of practicing it. It is time we got a clear understanding of how to implement design thinking.


Designers and technical experts are observing the end consumers throughout their entire purchase cycle. In this phase, the experts have no preconceived notions or assumptions about the customers’ abilities or behaviors. They are observing the customer from a neutral standpoint. Through this phase, they are better able to understand the discomforts that a customer is facing in their consumption cycle. The consumer is sometimes unaware of the discomforts. Through silent observation, the experts put themselves in the shoes of the customer. This gives an organization a deeper understanding of what innovations could be made in the product and what the current difficulties are that the consumer is facing.


After the experts have observed the consumers, it is time for them to document all the problems or issues faced by the consumers. Along with this, what could be the future innovations done on the project that would make the product more desirable to the consumer? This stage will help further develop the solutions that are needed for the product.


After understanding and documenting the issues, the next step would be for the different functional and departmental heads to gather around and discuss the same. It is ideally the stage of brainstorming. Through brainstorming, the organization can come up with different creative, cost-effective, and most desired solutions for the above-mentioned problems. In this stage, coming up with two or three different solutions is a must for the organization.


In this stage, the organization is now implementing the different solutions discussed above for the problems faced by the end consumers during their consumption stage. Among the different solutions, one is the ideal one. It is not the final draft of the solution but a quick way to actualize or prototype the theories discussed above. It is the concrete version of our discussions. For example, if you are preparing some refreshments, the ingredients in the beverages will be different. Among all the compositions discussed, the selected ones are prepared and then further moved down the line.


After the initial prototyping, now is the time to see the effectiveness of each of the solutions to determine the ideal one. In this stage, we have to collect feedback from the consumers when they interact with the prototype solutions. According to the feedback, a concrete decision is made and, hence, implemented for consumer satisfaction.

Design thinking is not a linear process but a circular flow. Finding the ideal solution is not the answer because now the ideal solution will be consumed by the consumers. The technical experts will be observing the customer’s reaction and finding ways to improve the product as well as other difficulties (said and unsaid) faced by the consumer during the interaction. And if the solution is not ideal, the experts may have to move back to the prototyping or brainstorming stage to help devise the product that will be desired by consumers. Design thinking is like running on circular roads and jumping from one step to another to deliver efficient products to consumers.

Roadblocks that experts or organizations face when they have to implement design thinking are,

  • It is a time-consuming process − Since design thinking is a circular process of improvement and not a destination to achieve, it becomes time-consuming. The organization must spend a lot of time and money to implement design thinking. It is not even favorable for the products that need instant or fast improvements or innovations.

  • Design thinking is a circular project with no clear beginning or end − Hence, an organization has to ensure that resources are allocated to these processes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This creates a lot of monetary burden for the organization, hence making it a little difficult for startups or small organizations to achieve or practice design thinking.

  • There are no shortcuts − Design thinking can only be done with the utmost focus on the customer and their approach. It is a detailed process. It involves keeping an eye on minute details. If shortcuts are applied in design thinking, it will only lead to disaster.

Design thinking is a human-centric approach to getting output or solutions for product invitations. It helps an organization sustain itself in this cutthroat, ever-changing, and volatile environment. With design thinking, brands and organizations can become customers’ favorites and hence ensure sales are less affected by external factors. We must understand that in this era, customers pay more for the experience than for the product. Starbucks sells a coffee for a minimum of Rs 300, and the same cold coffee is available to the consumer in a decent restaurant for Rs 150. Customers are ready to pay a price if the customer's needs are given top priority.

Updated on: 01-Dec-2022


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