Community Forum – What is your design thinking methodology?

Resource Type
Survey (Community Forum)
Publish Date
Innovation Research Interchange
Breakthrough Innovation, Tools and Techniques
Associated Event

Design Thinking Methodology is increasingly a standard process for product innovation and design; the key essence is empathy for the user. Although the process includes a research phase, it is typically about user needs, and does not describe a way to include new materials, technologies, or methods of making. We want to benchmark our members to determine if this is a common gap, or if there are best practices in this area that can be collected for wider dissemination amongst members.



 If your answer was no, what are the steps in your Design Thinking process?
  • While we do to some point, we often miss empathize – as a B2B we have more than one customer to consider.  We have the person that installs our product, we have the person that uses our product, we have the management of the person that uses our product and we have the C-Level.  Each person in this value chain has an want and need.  Often we only focus on one and ignore the voice of the others.
  • The design thinking steps have not yet been formalized.
  • Define, ideate, prototype, test
  • Define requirements, develop prototype, test, validate
  • We don’t spend a lot of time on empathize.  Process kicks off with a definition of customer needs.
  • Design thinking is not a term used in my organization; neither are the terms listed in this question. However, of course we try to define new products based upon Customer Value Propositions, which take into account the 5 steps of design thinking.  This term design thinking just seems to be a new way describing good new product development processes.
If yes to question (#4), then please explain where in the process new technologies/materials/processes are evaluated in as much detail as possible.
  • During ideation, new solutions could be conceived that take advantage of new materials and/or other technological advances.
  • Conflicting answers to enable a comment:  We see design thinking to be more about identifying the need and the opportunity independent of the solution  The ideate phase is then free to include any of these factors.
  • Since we are a materials science industry, we do well with materials – where we fail or are less than perfect is in process and new technology.  This is a short coming that we are working on with efforts in Outside Technology and Open Innovation.
  • In research and in benchmarking during development.
  • Curiosity led discovery and hunch evaluation.
  • Creation of a minimum viable product or product concept model.
  • Rigorous physical testing 
  • Ideate and prototype
Do you have ideas, experiences, and/or references to how to improve the Design Thinking process to include an evaluation of new technologies/materials/processes during product design & development?  If no, then why not?
  • We have found that by beginning with a technology agnostic problem statement and looking to understand the customer need, then the openings are straightforward to include new materials, technologies, etc. in proposing solutions.
  • Should encompass leadership awareness training. For an example see
  • Active efforts in Outside Technology and Open Innovation can aid in driving more emphasis on technology, process and materials.  This has the natural effect of bring it into your design thinking as long as the efforts are joined in the total technology silo.   
  • I am not sure of the best way to include additional evaluation steps in this process without slowing it down.
  • How to generate money is too early discuss but giving option will help business leaders to decide quickly to progress
  • Incorporating industrial and experience design should drive to ideating around new ways of delivering experiences that may involve undeveloped technology.  Quick and dirty prototypes can help identify opportunities for new technology that can justify increasing the technology readiness level.
  • Yes, we are currently focused on getting better at this, in combination with lead start-up.
  • Like any methodology, the base approach often lacks sufficient detail for highly technical decisions. A more detailed approach must be added for the technical questions.
  • No – today it is all about going faster
  • Yes, but a constant challenge is the timeline.  To adequately search, identify, and evaluate new technical approaches often takes more time than the ideate and prototype stage is given.
  • As always, the challenge is do we truly understand customer needs, many of which could be unarticulated.  Typical VoC doesn’t get you there.  You really need to study markets and similar applications and often times look at customers, customers to see value.
  • Able to move this topic from middle management because everyone sees the value. Hard to scale this beyond small teams without full buy in from senior management.
  • Doblin 10 types of innovation. Duncan Wardle’s design thinking innovation tool kit.
  • Design thinking is not a term used in my organization. However, we try to define new products/projects based upon Customer Value Propositions, which take into account the 5 steps of design thinking. This term design thinking just seems to be a new way describing good new product development processes. Also, we take deep dives into new technologies by running science platforms, which look at new technologies in specific areas (applied research projects). The platforms focus on the science and then spin-off new product development projects across many of our application markets.
  • Yes. It includes an iterative process of hypothesis, test, redesign trying to control time and costs.



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