The Design Thinking Process

Design Thinking process is a human-centred process used to innovatively and creatively solve real-life problems for a particular group of people. It has brought many businesses lots of happy customers and helped entrepreneurs from all around the world, to solve problems with innovative new solutions. In the 5-step process, students and employees deal with realistic issues to provide meaningful solutions. The process is taught in top design and business schools around the world.

The full story
Design Thinking - Sprouts Learning

Design Thinking is a 5-step process to come up with meaningful ideas that solve real problems for a particular group of people.  The process is taught in top design and business schools around the world. It has brought many businesses lots of happy customers and helped entrepreneurs from all around the world, to solve problems with innovative new solutions.

Empathise Design Thinking - Sprouts Learning

The purpose of step one is to conduct interviews that give you an idea about what people really care about. We need to empathize with their situation. For example, if you want to help old people, you might find that they want to keep the ability to walk around. In your conversations, they might share with you different ways they can do that. Later into the interview, you’ll want to dig a little deeper, look for personal stories or situations where things became difficult. Ideally, you redo the process with many people with the same problem.

Define the problem
Problem Design Thinking - Sprouts Learning

In step two, you define the problem. Looking at the interviews, you can now understand the actual needs that people are trying to fulfill with certain activities. One way to do that is to underline the verbs or activities that the people mentioned when talking about their problems: like going for a walk, meeting old friends for tea, or simply going grocery shopping around the corner store. You might realize it’s not so much about going out, but more about staying in touch. After your analysis, formulate a problem statement: “Some elderly are afraid to be lonely. They want to stay connected.” 

Ideate Design Thinking - Sprouts Learning

Next up, in step three, you ideate. Now focus only on the problem statement and come up with ideas that solve the problem. The point is not to get a perfect idea, but rather to come up with many ideas: like unique virtual reality experiences, senior-friendly hoverboards or a modified pushcart. Whatever it is, sketch up your best ideas and show them to the people you are trying to help, so you get their feedback.

Prototype Design Thinking - Sprouts Learning

Following your research and brainstorming, in step four comes the time to build a prototype. Now take a moment to reflect on what you have learned from your conversations about the different ideas. Ask yourself, how does your idea fit in the context of people’s actual lives. Your solution could be a combination of a new idea and what is already being used. Then connect the dots, sketch up your final solution and go build a real prototype that’s just good enough to be tested. 

Test Design Thinking - Sprouts Learning

Following is step five, where you test your prototype with actual users. Don’t defend your idea in case people don’t like it, the point is to learn what works and what didn’t, so any feedback is great. Then go back to ideation or prototyping and apply your learning. Repeat the process until you have a prototype that works and solves the real problem. Now you are ready to change the world or open shop. 

Design Thinking - Sprouts Learning

To experience design thinking first hand, do the free virtual design thinking crash course from Stanford’s D-School right now. You will learn to design a new gift-giving experience. Find the link and a guide for facilitators in the description below. After you are done, share your experience and gift idea in the comments. To learn more about creative and critical thinking, check out our other sprouts videos. And if you want to support our channel, visit

“I realized the whole process with this great animation and explaining over the video. Thanks, keep going.”

– Muhamad Haydar 


Dig deeper!

Classroom activity

Lead your students through the design thinking process in your subject! Pose a problem from society and set this as a topic for discussion in your class. Perhaps in the weeks leading up to a science fair or a scheduled project, you could introduce the topic and guide your students step by step until they showcase their work in front of the school. How about challenging other classes to join you? The possibilities are endless 🙂 Let us know how it works out!

Check out these links for some great ideas:

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