This method generates innovative ideas that focus the effectiveness on understanding and solving the real needs which people have. It comes from the way product designers work. Hence its name, which in Spanish translates literally as «Design Thought» or «Design Mentality», although we prefer to think of it as «The way designers think».
The theory was developed at Stanford University in California (USA) in the 70s, and its first application for profit as «Design Thinking» was carried out by the design consultancy IDEO, being today its main precursor.
According to Tim Brown, current CEO of IDEO, Design Thinking “is a discipline that uses the sensitivity and methods of designers to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and with what a viable business strategy can convert in value for the client, as well as a great opportunity for the market ”.
Companies like Apple, Google and Zara use it. Being a great generator of innovation, it can be applied to any field. From the development of products or services to the improvement of processes or the definition of business models. Its applicability is only limited by our own imagination.
Generation of empathy
Understand the needs of users
Enrichment in complementarity
Need to adjust to a new mindset
They develop innovative products and services from a more human perspective, putting all their senses in the knowledge of people.
The work developed
in the company is adapted to
the circumstances and
The project begins with a visit to the company – empathy phase – in which the students take care of the needs of the users involved.
The Design Thinking process begins with a deep understanding of the needs of the users involved in the solution being developed, and also of their environment. They put themselves in the shoes of these people in order to be able to generate solutions consistent with their realities.
During the Definition stage, the information collected during the Empathy phase is sifted and they are left with what really adds value and brings them to the reach of new interesting perspectives. They identify problems whose solutions will be key to obtaining an innovative result.
The Ideation stage aims to generate endless options. They don’t get the first idea that comes to mind. In this phase, activities encourage expansive thinking and should eliminate value judgments. Sometimes the most outlandish ideas are the ones that generate visionary solutions.
In the Prototyping stage they turn ideas into reality. Building prototypes makes the ideas palpable and helps them to visualize the possible solutions, highlighting elements that must be improved or refined before reaching the final result that they will have to expose to the company.
The students prepare a report in which they reflect how the different phases have worked and make a concrete proposal that they present to the company.
Companies evaluate students in a series of previously defined competencies agreed between the company and the school.