Q1: How is Design Thinking human-centric across different stages?


Design Thinking is a methodology to create human-centric innovation, which focuses on putting the “users” at the centre of the design throughout the innovation process. According to the Double Diamond Model by British Design Council, Design Thinking can be divided into 4 stages, namely Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. At each of the stages, the innovation team has to remain human-centric:

  1. Discover: Understand users’ pain points with empathy
  2. Define: Find out the problem(s) that concern(s) the users most
  3. Develop: Step into the users’ shoes to select the best solution
  4. Deliver: Collect user feedback and improve the solution
Q2. How can I spark my team member’s creativity and make the innovation process more interesting?


Other than applying Design Thinking tools, the innovation team may enhance the innovation process with various activities. Below are some examples:

  1. At the stage of Discover, the team may roleplay different stakeholders to discover different perspectives. For example, each team member could think of a phrase that a certain stakeholder would typically say. This helps the team to build empathy towards different stakeholders.
  2. At the stage of Develop, the team may invite potential users to join the brainstorming process and co-create solutions with them.
  3. Encourage the team to express their thoughts through different means. Other than drawing, the team may also utilize external tools such as Lego, coffee filters to express ideas creatively.
  4. Collect interesting case studies from different websites and social media. Share with the team regularly to inspire one another.
Q3. How can we create a solution that is more down-to-earth through Design Thinking?


  1. Avoid creating solutions based on your assumptions and imagination. Always try to ideate from the clues you collected.
  2. Validate your insights to avoid assumptions and stereotypes.
  3. Raise your concerns to your team when you spot a problem during the discussion. In the long run, build a team culture that favours critical thinking.
  4. Test your solutions before you launch them and improve your ideas based on real feedback.
Q4. How to kickstart a Design Thinking project?


  1. Form a cross-background team to encourage thinking from various perspectives.
  2. Conduct a pre-research about the topic and the issue.
  3. Align the tools that the team will use and the flow of usage.
Q5. Why does our team have to learn Design Thinking tools? Do we have to master all the tools?


There are many benefits of Design Thinking tools. First of all, they provide a framework for the team to ideate and discuss innovative solutions. Across the different stages of Design Thinking, there are various tools that are arranged logically, allowing the team to ideate the new idea step by step. For example, we will first apply User Segment to define our target users, then apply Persona to humanize our users and apply Journey Map to discover the pain points and needs throughout the user journey.

Meanwhile, Design Thinking tools allow the team to share a common language and ensure every member innovates under the same systematic framework. Since there is an order for the tools, the team will be clear about which stage they are at and the corresponding goals at the time. By recording the outcomes and results of applying the tools, the team will be able to review the innovation process and insights from different stages

There are various Design Thinking tools. According to LUMA, one of the world’s leading Design Thinking Consulting Companies, there are 36 tools in Design Thinking. Instead of mastering all the tools, we recommend that the team should focus on a few tools that your members are familiar with, and eventually build a regular set of Design Thinking tools and flow for your team.

Design Thinking Tools in the Double Diamond Model

Discover: User Segment, Persona, User Journey Map, User Interview

Define: Pain Map, How Might We Questions

Develop: Silent Brainstorming, Choice Matrix

Deliver: Prototype, Idea Canvas, Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

Q6. What are the differences between different Design Thinking models?


Different Design Thinking models have different emphases and goals. For example, the Sprint model from Google focuses more on Product Prototyping, encouraging the team to develop ideas and collect feedback to improve within a short period of time; meanwhile, Design For Change Framework from India is designed for students and focuses on the model’s simplicity, enabling students to learn and apply Design Thinking.

Regardless of the model, the principles of Design Thinking are the same: stay human-centric and create “something people want”.

Q7. I am not a designer and I have no knowledge about design. Can I still apply Design Thinking?


Of course you can! According to the Tim Brown, the previous chair of IDEO (one of the world’s leading Design Thinking Consulting Companies), Design Thinking is “a human-centred approach to innovation” that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

Q8. What is the importance of finding the “right question to answer”?


“The important and difficult job is never to find the right answers. It is to find the right question.” Peter Drucker

As a way of problem solving, Design Thinking focuses on “finding the right question”, and then finding the right answers to the question. The team should spend much time on User Understanding instead of only focusing on the solution. By understanding users’ real difficulties and needs with empathy, the team should be able to gain an in-depth understanding of users, which allows us to create well-defined “How Might We Questions” and directions to ideate solutions. As long as the final solution is developed according to the well-defined “How Might We Questions”, it should be able to match users’ needs.




Term Explanation
Convergent Thinking
The process of taking focused actions, usually applied at the stages of “Define” and “Deliver”.
Design Thinking
A human-centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.A human-centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.
Divergent Thinking
The process of exploring an issue more widely or deeply, usually applied at the stages of “Discover” and “Develop”.
Double Diamond Model/ 4D Mode
The Design Thinking Model adopted by the British Design Council, which consists of 2 Diamonds, and 4 Stages, Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.
Empathy is the most important mindset in Design Thinking. It allows us to understand and share the same feelings that others feel. Through empathy, we are able to put ourselves in other people's shoes and connect with how they might be feeling about their problems, circumstances, or situations.
Fail Forward
The process which the innovation team learns from the useful insights in previous failure(s) to enhance their understanding of users or quality of the solutions. It can happen across different stages in Design Thinking.
Pain Point
A Pain Point in a journey is the step in which the user experiences problems, irritation, annoyance or any other negative emotions.
Product Prototyping
The second diamond of the Double Diamond Model, which focuses on developing, testing and improving the solution.
User Understanding
The first diamond in the Double Diamond Model, which focuses on discovering and defining users’ pain points and needs to innovate from.
User Value
A User Value is the motivation, benefit and/or desire which is implied by the action(s) a user chooses to take.