How to apply design thinking in business? - Kounselly
what is design thinking

How to apply design thinking in business?

Design thinking is a human-focused creative method that helps solve problems and come up with new solutions based on user needs. Applying design thinking to businesses brings many significant benefits. Let’s learn more about design thinking in the following article.

How design thinking solves problems?

Design thinking is a creative and critical process that helps us solve complex problems and create solutions that meet user needs. Design thinking includes 5 main stages. In each phase, we need to perform different activities, such as research, interview, analysis, selection, design, development and evaluation.

The goal of design thinking is to create products, services or solutions that bring the best user experience, while ensuring feasibility, efficiency and sustainability. Design thinking is widely applied in many fields such as business, education, health, society and art.

Design thinking is an iterative process that does not follow a fixed sequence but can be flexibly adjusted to each context and problem. Design thinking is not just a tool but a mindset that encourages understanding, collaboration, challenge and innovation. Design thinking helps us solve problems effectively, creatively and meaningfully.

5-step design thinking process

The design thinking process is a creative method for solving problems and coming up with new solutions based on user needs. It includes the following 5 basic steps:


The empathy stage is the first step in the design thinking process. This is an important stage that helps you understand user needs, desires and behaviors. The goals of this phase include:

  • Develop a deep understanding of the user: This phase helps you put yourself in the user’s shoes to feel what they are going through.
  • Identify the problems users are facing: By understanding your users, you can identify the problems they are facing and need to be solved.
  • Gather information to create the right solution: The empathy stage provides the information you need to create a solution that meets your users’ needs and wants.


The define phase is the second step in the design thinking process. After gathering information about users in the empathize phase, the define phase helps you clearly define the problem you need to solve. The goals of the identification phase include:

  • Convert the information collected about users into a specific problem to solve.
  • Make sure the problem is clearly defined, concise, and easy to understand.
  • Create a foundation for solution development in the next stages.


This is the stage where many unique and diverse ideas are generated, often using tools such as drawings, diagrams, flashcards, brainstorming, etc. to promote connection and development of ideas. The goals of the ideation phase are:

  • Generate many diverse solution ideas, not constrained by a framework.
  • Encourage creative and breakthrough thinking.
  • Select potential ideas for further development.


The implementation phase is the fourth step in the design thinking process. This is the stage of turning ideas into testable prototypes, usually simple, cheap and quick products that can get feedback from users. The goals of the implementation phase include: Converting ideas into concrete prototypes that can be tested and evaluated, get feedback from users to improve ideas and minimize solution development risks and costs.


The test phase is the fifth and final step in the design thinking process. This is the phase of testing prototypes with real users, collecting and analyzing data, evaluating effectiveness, and making process improvements or iterations. The goals of the testing phase include:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the solution: Determine whether the solution meets user needs and set goals.
  • Collect feedback from users: Get feedback from users to better understand their experience and what needs improvement.
  • Improve the solution: Based on feedback from users, improve the solution to improve efficiency and user experience.

The benefits of applying design thinking

Design thinking is a creative, effective, and human-centered problem-solving approach. Design thinking can be applied to many different fields, from products, services, business to education, society and individuals. Applying design thinking in work and life brings many significant benefits.

Design thinking helps you discover and understand user needs, desires and problems. By observing, interviewing, testing, and gathering feedback from users, you can create solutions that work and bring value to them. Design thinking also helps you build trust and connection with users, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty.

Design thinking encourages you to be creative and innovative. Design thinking does not limit you to existing solutions, but challenges you to think of new, unique and different ideas.

You can use tools such as drawing, modeling, and the 5W1H principle (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How) to exploit the creative potential of yourself and your team. Design thinking also helps you adapt and be flexible to changes and continuously improve your product or service.

Design thinking creates effective and sustainable solutions. Design thinking is not only concerned with solving current problems, but also looks further into the future and the impact of that solution on the environment, society and economy.

Design thinking also helps you save costs and time by quickly testing ideas before large-scale implementation. You can use tools like the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) principle, Lean Canvas or Business Model Canvas to define the hypothesis, goals and metrics of your product or service.

Example of design thinking

Design thinking is researched and applied by many large corporations. With this method, each individual in the organization always actively mobilizes acumen, sophistication and artistry in thinking to promote products.Some prominent corporations using design thinking are Google, Apple, Samsung, etc. Below are typical examples of design thinking for Google Maps:

  • Problem: Difficulty finding locations and moving around the city.
  • Solution: Google Maps provides intuitive maps, detailed information about locations, and directions for traveling by multiple means.
  • Approach: Google Maps applies design thinking to study user travel behavior, thereby developing an easy-to-use interface and useful features such as voice location search, GPS navigation, view Actual photos of the location.

Design thinking is an effective creative method that can be applied in many different fields. Applying design thinking helps businesses and organizations solve problems, develop products and services that meet user needs, thereby achieving success and creating a positive impact on society.


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