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    What is Design Thinking and How to Apply It?

    17 July 2022

    5 min read

    Everyone who cares about solving a problem, even modestly, talks about Design Thinking. Today, what a company offers its customers is no longer enough. It took businesses a while to shift their focus from being business-centric to being user-centric. With design thinking, you can reimagine your business around your customers.


    So what is Design thinking and why there is so much buzz around it?

    With so many variations of the answers available, here is the core of it – Design is an “Experience” and Design Thinking is about finding “How to create the experience.”

    It is a step by step human-centered approach to solve problems innovatively in the designs, businesses, society, and in our personal lives.

    Even though the term holds the word “Design,” Design Thinking is not at all limited to the designers—the innovators in science, art, music, literature, engineering, and business, all can practice it.

    Why does your organization need to include a design thinking approach?

    It encourages the organizations to focus on the people they’re creating for, which leads to better products, services, and processes. When you create a solution for a business need, the first question should always be what’s the human need behind it?

    To the millions of Apple-loyal customers across the world, their products just feel right. Steve Jobs once said, “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think that the designers are handed this box and told, ”Make it look good!” That’s not what we think the design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

    Steve Jobs Approach For Design thinking.


    Design Thinking process

    Design thinking had existed for a long time, and even before the digital era. But it gained popularity with the rise of experience-driven economy in the last decade.

    And that’s when the large organizations saw this as a need to standardize the approach so that it can be adopted and followed by everyone to solve any problem.

    To standardize it, Design Thinking process has these 5 identifiable stages:

    1. Empathize – with your users, learn about them, and find out their needs
    2. Define – users’ needs and problems
    3. Ideate – challenge all assumptions, and ideate on innovative solutions
    4. Prototype – work on the solution
    5. Test & Evaluate – go back to your user group to test and validate

    Design Thinking Process

    IDEO founder David Kelley says design thinking is not a linear path, “it’s a big mass of looping back to different places in the process.” Each phase is iterative and works in sync with other phases. It all starts with unpacking your idea. With this step by step process, you can find out how to approach design to solve the problem.

    You must involve the actual users/customers, different team members, and people who have different backgrounds and expertise, so they bring different approaches and not stick to the conventional solutions. By seeing the problem from a different angle, a new set of solutions become possible.

    The outcome of each phase should be convincing enough to serve as a guiding principle for the rest of the process and ensure that you stay closer to the problem areas and don’t deviate.


    Can Design Thinking methodology fail to bring the optimal value?

    Yes, if you are doing the following:

    1. Not involving the customer/consumer, or keeping them in focus, not asking them for inputs and problems.
    2. Talking to the same people in the team who bring in their distorted views and dominate the session.
    3. Not embracing and implementing the outcomes of Design Thinking.

    Without these, it will be just a new day with the same old problem.

    Redefining the existing business process is a holistic approach that can’t be done alone by business consultants or technology experts but by Design Thinkers. Design thinking takes practice, but keeping a “beginner’s mind,” with the intent to remain open and curious, to assume nothing, and replace ambiguity with opportunity, is the key to deliver the best customer experience.


    Design Thinking workshop by Pepper Square

    At Pepper Square, we have conducted Design Thinking workshops for various global clients, prospects, and students across the world.

    It is one kind of interactive and creative workshop where we help organizations shape and amplify their purpose, launch new products, and develop a prototype that inspire, entertain, and improve lives.

    Our philosophy revolves around an approach to design simple, accessible, and valuable interactions between the end-users and their ecosystem. The solutions connect with the next-gen through ”Design Thinking”.

    Design Thinking Workshop by Pepper Square


    Our approach

    The Design Thinking workshop is an exercise based on a triad approach of Awaken, Align, and Aspire sessions. Each session has an exciting interactive content that involves the participants to come out with their feelings, aspirations, and concerns for the brand/product/service.

    The data is gathered in an unobtrusive manner so that no role and job title comes in the way of influencing decisions, but recorded only the deeply experienced authentic feeling.

    Approach for Design Thinking


    1. Awaken – Being part of the journey

    This is a stimulus-response exercise aimed at activating the collective consciousness of the group. The sensory awakening session is designed to gather responses through expression and visualization of the participants’ ideas and aspirations in a relaxed open environment.

    2. Align – One voice communication

    Human beings are built on progress. Everyone wants to change, but change is the most challenging feat. This session has exercises to understand what people think of the brand/product/service from a Personal, Professional, Financial, Social, Inside-out, and Outside-in view.

    3. Aspire – How big is your dream?

    You might create many things, but you will be mostly remembered for that one thing that made a maximum impact on people’s lives. This session helps you focus on your core because that’s what will bring you success and fulfillment.

    Design Workshop


    The session focuses on:

    1. How to solve any problem and be successful.
    2. How to increase efficiency and be 10X more productive.
    3. Learn what leaders do differently to stay on top.
    4. How to focus on your core skills and love what you do.
    5. Tap into your hidden, creative thinking capabilities.

    These design thinking workshops have transformed hundreds of businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals. Pepper Square conducts them for large corporations, CXOs, and leaders.

    Watch the video to discover more

    Are you looking for an experience-driven digital solution for your product or service?

    Alka Jha


    Alka is the Chief Creative Officer at Pepper Square. She has defined the user experience for some of the finest global brands over the last eight years.