Design Thinking in Business: Definition, Benefits & Stages

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  • 0:04 Think Like a Designer
  • 0:43 How to Use Design Thinking
  • 1:32 Stages of Design Thinking
  • 3:34 Benefits of Design Thinking
  • 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Design thinking transforms real-world problems into real solutions. In this lesson, you'll learn more about this business tool, its stages, and why it is the best way to innovate in today's marketplace.

Think Like a Designer

When Braun/Oral-B decided they needed a smarter electric toothbrush, they turned to an unusual source for their ideas: their clients. No, the company didn't ask its customers to design its new toothbrush, but it used some of the ideas customers had requested in creating the new device, including the ability to charge the toothbrush by plugging it into the wall.

This method of product development is known as design thinking, where a company empathizes with its customers in creating an end product that solves their real-world problems.

Design thinking is a user-centric approach to innovate new products and services in a way that solves problems and creates value for the consumer.

How to Use Design Thinking

Design thinking can be used in any industry, from creating new toothbrushes and building cars to how students are educated and the way in which marketing is conducted.

This type of process works by understanding the problems of end users and designing a product, service or business process in a way that puts the customer as the first priority. By being empathetic, or understanding, designers can use that information to better define the problem, brainstorm ideas and present a prototype that can be tested. In fact, that's the basic outline for the phases of design thinking.

Design thinking helps an organization to accelerate effectiveness and agility because it is concerned with identifying and meeting the needs of the consumer. This creates a more focused effort in product and service development, which reduces time, money and energy in products that don't meet the needs of the end users.

Stages of Design Thinking

The five stage model of design thinking was developed by experts at the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. In the model, they outline different phases of the design thinking process, starting with one we've already discussed: empathy.

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