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What makes Design Thinking a 21st-century Skill?

a basics of Design thinking skill

When the problems are tricksy unknown,
And a dire need for problem-solving,
High-time beseeching solution forging;
With a five-staged approach of Design Thinking.

Discover is the stage of insight gathering;
A mindset visit of people we’re designing.
Explicit knowledge of do, say, think and feeling;
With non-judgemental eyes, just discerning.

Define is needs and frustration identifying;
Performing research and actively observing.
Detecting patterns where the problem’s existing;
Highlighting opportunities for creative iterating

Dream is the phase hence succeeding;
Creating solutions with potential meanings.
Strategic brainstorming and idea sketching;
Eliminating shortcomings and misunderstandings.

Design is the phase of dimensional visualizing;
Updating the design concept and investigating.
Scaling-down with no final materials needing;
Realistic physical forms for feedback gaining.    

Dry-run is the extension of phase – empathizing;
Even more in-depth pain-points understanding.
Just right time for problem statement revisiting;
Compelling behaviour change and developing.

Wicked problems are always quite daunting;
But there’s this process that makes it inciting.
Why’s there still a confusion persisting?
Hey pal! Practice this! You’ll go on commending.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a non-linear methodology for solving a complex problem. The process involves design thinking principles like creativity, intuition, logic and analytical reasoning. The basics of Design Thinking involves 5 phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.

These basics of Design Thinking help us from a user-centric viewpoint. These basics of Design Thinking are coming with the most reliable and effective way out to solve an issue with the design. This complete process starts with an in-depth understanding of the problem, conducting research based on both the secondary as well as primary research data, defining the data into a set of information, coming up with all the different pain points and needs and objectives that require focus. The basics of Design Thinking follows an ideation session in which the design thinking team generates a lot of ideas using various ideation methods. Once the submission based on logical analysis and analytical thinking are complete, it leads to creating prototypes of the same. After designing the prototypes, the next step is to test these prototypes for getting real-time feedback from the target audience and reiterating on it.

A, that the basics of Design Thinking are a non-linear method of problem-solving, it means that every phase that empathizes, defines, ideates, and prototypes. The test need not follow one after the other.

Design thinking a non linear process

While working with this process, you will encounter and uncover new ideas and gain useful insight which may redefine what you had done before. The basics of Design Thinking sometimes often overlap; hence there may be constant back and forth iterations.

Aspirants search for many design thinking topics so to create a healthier bind within the design thinking team, like doing exercises and activities together as a group. It helps develop coordination and understand each role in the steps of design thinking principles as they discover design thinking basics.

Design thinking framework

In order to improve the design thinking method and solve issues, there is a basic framework that we at ImaginXP have set – 5D framework that helps avoid bottlenecks and time consuming re-work. It also helps create a punctuality and problem solving driven method.

Now that we know what design thinking is let us explore and understand the different design thinking basics:

5D framework by ImaginXP

5D framework by ImaginXP


This phase is one of the basics of Design Thinking. It is all about understanding the target users. The designer starts with observation of its user segment in a particular context as well as the different context of that same user segment. Your key here is to discover their emotions and their experiences based on your experience related to that particular topic of discussion. Empathy is the capacity or ability to identify and understand the feelings and perspectives of another person by basically putting yourself into their place.

Empathize in design thinking framework

Photo: Unsplash

Understanding of the users is a crucial part to remember while creating an excellent UX. Without it, the designers might base it only on the assumptions of an individual, in this case, themselves.

As I said earlier, before starting to empathize with people, please make sure that the goals of the research are clear in your head as well as there is an interview guide with you. This interview guide has possible questions related to the topic of research, so you do not deviate and focus on the subject. Discover is the most variable phase of a project and usually consists of interviews, focus group discussions (FHGs), online surveys, body storming, creating user journey maps, photo and video journals.


This phase is one of the basics of Design Thinking. Define is about combining and analyzing the research conducted to draw useful insights from the qualitative and the quantitative researched data. This will then, later on, help to define the problem statement and thereby help in creativity in the next phase.

At this point, it is essential to note that the basics of Design Thinking are to look at the problem statement in terms of a human-centred approach rather than a business goal approach. Hence, instead of focusing on increasing new page visitors by 25% or selling of a product by 10% by the end of the financial year, it should be to provide more quality content to the new visitors and help older people in case of emergency.

Design thinking framework define

Photo: Unsplash

Followed by this will be the framing of how much we statement. These are the questions that help us and in large the team to focus on one particular task to be completed as such to solve the problem and not to deviate to solving different pain points. For example, how we provide quality content to the visitors or how might we help older people in case of a fire emergency. Exploring the empathy data and identifying patterns will help us understand how at present people solve their problems and how to come up with a more innovative solution which is easy-to-use, easy to understand, and meets their needs.


The dream phase is one of the basics of Design Thinking. It is all about generating a lot of ideas using rational methods to come with an analytical thought process and later on evaluating these sets of ideas. Many designers talk about design thinking topics to understand their user better. Therefore, as in the defined stage, we are well informed about the problem statement, it is now the time to brainstorming different possible ways to meet those unmet needs. This phase is the transition to identify the various problems of exploring a varied solution. In this phase, the breath of the thought process is more important than the depth of it. So that we come up with diverse ideas to later prototype and test real users.

Ideate in design thinking framework

Photo: Unsplash

When the basics of Design Thinking – dream phase begins, it tries to challenge you to go beyond general thinking and rational thought process. You are not to think about the quality or feasibility of the ideas now. We are the team that never knows that ideas that we considered as infeasible may somehow make more sense and value than we would have thought it to be. These ideas may inspire you to some others in the team

After there is sufficient collection of ideas, it is now time to move to the evaluation phase. This is where any clarification about the ideas can be sought and discussed more on the same. There are many ways to do that; the most common way is the dot vote approach. In this method, each of the team members is given a sufficient number of dots which they need to place on that the thing is most appropriate or worth pursuing—the idea or ideas with the most number of dots the prototype step.


Design is one of the basics of Design Thinking where the ideas, after rationalization and clarification are given physical forms; the objective is to gain feedback from the user. In this step, we start with a low fidelity preliminary version of the most appropriate solution, get useful feedback based on this model and improve upon it during the due course of time.

Prototype in design thinking framework

Photo: Unsplash

You should know that in these basics of Design Thinking step have to become a realistic representation of the thought-out solution. This will help us as well as the team to understand what does work and what doesn’t. As these models are cheap and lightweight, it allows us to develop various solutions to test in the targeted user domain, thus helping us identify the most appropriate of all solutions for meeting the unmet needs of the users.

Dry Run

As stated in the poem earlier, the test (Dry-run) is an extension of the discover process. The final product helps us gain an in-depth understanding of the pain points of the target audience, which they experience while the problem-solving process occurs. This step is one of the basics of Design Thinking – testing the prototypes developed with the target user segment to observe them use those and get feedback on whether or not these will be working soon or not.

Test in design thinking framework

Photo: Unsplash

As this design thinking basics step helps us collect useful feedback that may be applied on the current prototype, thereby improvising the same, it now directs us to revisit the problem statement earlier created. Thus, again the process of understanding the needs and frustrations of the target audience starts, thereby providing them with appropriate end solutions. This basics of Design Thinking step also helps us gain insights about the product and realize whether or not we had any impact on the lives of people.

Conclusion – Design thinking is us with them.

The basics of Design Thinking are frequently known as outside-the-box thinking as there is a continuous search for innovative ways of problem-solving. At the very depth of these basics of Design Thinking lies the intention to observe, learn and empathize with users about their needs and understand their pains while using any product (digital/physical) in their natural context to improve the products as a whole.

As Tim Brown had put it:

“It is not ‘us versus them’ or ‘us on behalf of them’. For a design thinker, it has to be, ‘us with them’ “ 

If you like to learn more about Design Thinking and consider it a part of your future, you should visit our course on Design Thinking and make yourself Future-ready!!

ImaginXP is leading the HigherEd revolution offering some of the best future skills certification courses and full time degree programs in Business, design and Technology. We are pioneering the higher educational space with top-notch faculties and industry-led curriculum.

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