I like to think about design
because design is about thinking.
So I thought about thoughtful design and began to
design what others were expecting and thus
thoughts of expected designs were thought
through as users expected them to be.
What it is, what it is
Design Thinking is another way to approach the
problems we’re working to resolve. It focuses on
empathy and asking the right questions (which is
normally, “Why?”) to explore new solutions that
may not have initially been obvious.
The 5 Whys
A concept developed by Sakichi Toyoda to ﬁnd the
source of a problem.
Don’t stop when you found the initial answer.
Chances are, that too is a symptom of something
The 5 Whys
There aren’t any new accounts created today. Why?
Because the submit button isn’t working. Why?
Because a bug was introduced last night in the release. Why?
Because there was no testing done before the release. Why?
Because we didn’t have time. Why?
Because management demands too much and doesn’t give
enough time to complete the tasks.
The 5 Steps
2. Deﬁne the Problem
4. Build a Prototype
People like steps. It tells them how long the process
is, gives them an idea as to where they are in the
process, and oﬀers something to look forward to -
like the end of this talk.
I empathize with you.
So you get 5 steps.
To understand and share the feelings of another.
This requires observation.
There is no substitute for the user insights you can
gain by observing actual user behavior in authentic
Get to know the user, create personas, and become
a user too.
– Justin Keller
“I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and
despair of homeless people to and from my
way to work every day.”
Photo courtesy of Best Car Magazine
1990 Ford Mustang
“If I were given one hour to save the planet,
I would spend 59 minutes deﬁning the
problem and one minute resolving it.”
2. Deﬁne the Problem
This requires “The 5 Whys” and is probably the
most diﬃcult step.
Because we often don’t have all the information.
Because we don’t provide enough resources or
time into learning about our users.
Because they want to see forward momentum.
Because that’s the nature of the beast called
Because when challenged to solve an issue, the
correct path is often backwards into a study about
the problem itself. And managers don’t like this.
They branched out:
• Theme parks
• Larger LEGO pieces
• Children’s clothing line
• Video games
Turns out, they deﬁned the wrong problem.
After sending out Ethnographers, they realized that
this generation was interested in achieving high
level mastery in speciﬁc skills.
LEGO redeﬁned the problem.
They re-engineered smaller pieces, and more
intricate building instructions. LEGO became a
master skill. It became about craftsmanship.
Learn from people
Deﬁne the problem
Build a prototype
1 2 3
“If you look at your Product Designer as
someone that makes your solution look
presentable, look again. A product designer
helps you identify, investigate, and validate
the problem, and ultimately craft, design, test
and ship the solution.”
Design Thinking isn’t
only about design.
It can be applied to your life.
Ex. 1: Relationships
Empathize by putting yourself in the other’s shoes.
Deﬁne the problem by being aware, mindful, and honest.
Ideate and examine yourself. Explore the possible ways
in which you can improve things.
Build a prototype by implementing ways in which the
solutions can be achieved.
Test IRL. Be the change you want to see in others.
Ex. 2: Traﬃc
Empathize with the other drivers who need to use these
Observe the frequency of traﬃc at particular times to ﬁnd
Ideate solutions such as working from home, or working
diﬀerent hours to avoid the rush.
Implement communication practices that allow the solutions.
1969 - Design as a way of thinking has been around
since it was introduced in Herbert Simon’s book
The Sciences of the Artiﬁcial.
1987 - It found the expression “Design Thinking” in
Peter Rowe’s book Design Thinking.
1991 - David Kelley at IDEO adopted the practice for
Design Thinking is on par with the Scientiﬁc
Yes, the freakin’
In theory, there is no diﬀerence between theory
In practice, there is.
• Empathy Quotient Test ( https://psychology-tools.com/
• Well Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create
Products People Love by Jon Kolko
( greatproductsbydesign.com )
• Ford Mustang Report ( sloanreview.mit.edu/article/stories-that-
Deﬁne the Problem
• The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
• LEGO’s problem ( https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lego-
• UX Tools ( uxdesign.cc/ux-tools )
• Notebooks ( thedotgrid.com )
• Post-it Notes are great for Card Sorting Methods
during IA research.
Build a Prototype
• Paper Prototypes
• InVision App ( invisionapp.com )
• Marvel App ( marvelapp.com )
• User testing websites ( usertesting.com, opentest.co,
usabilityhub.com, userzoom.com, validately.com, userinterviews.co )
• Integrated software ( getjaco.com, userbrain.net, peekin.io )
• Buy people coﬀee for a few minutes of their time
• Learn more about User Research (Jeﬀ Sauro’s books)