Introduction to Design Thinking


““Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

— Steve Jobs

Joseph Lanzillotta (Joe) completed his Undergraduate in Business Studies earlier this year. Last week, he spoke to the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society about ‘Design Thinking’. He is now working for Tangent, in the business end of the beekeeping industry- “I didn’t think I would be here”, he says.

In a two hour long session, Joe explained the process and importance of design thinking, helped the teams find their true customers, and identify those customers’ real pain points. He then asked the teams to use this information to form customer personas, which they then tested on each other to see if they were truly addressing the problems.

So, what is design thinking after all?

Simply put, design thinking lets you turn your products into experiences. It is a process which helps create solutions for product problems. These solutions are multifaceted and multi-dimensional, and are of great importance since they involve identifying and understanding the problem, and not only tackling them on the surface.

Image via the Stanford

What does design thinking revolve around?

There is one thing that greatly influences design thinking- empathy. Design thinking is a customer-centric process, and revolves around the needs of the customer. The concept can be applied best when we see, know and feel what the customers are feeling, and see our product and its uses from their perspective. A part of the process is also to come up with solutions beyond the central idea, in order to facilitate all possible concerns.

Why should you care about design thinking?

Design thinking is a key factor in building customer interest and participation. It can be used to anticipate the problem before it arises and be ready with a solution in advance. It is good for understanding the customer and developing the product suited for the customer. A successful product is one that not only results in the growth of the company, but also adds value in people’s lives. Such a product becomes an experience, and garners brand trust and loyalty.

What is the process of design thinking?

Design Thinking Cycle courtesy of Compucom

Design thinking is a non-linear process. When you start testing, it may make you re-define your idea. You may then revise your ‘Ideate’, ‘Prototype’ and ‘Test’ phases.

How do I start with design thinking?

The easiest way to approach design thinking is to create a set of questions, and answer them one at a time:

  1. Who is your target customer?

  2. What are the concerns of your target customer?

  3. How are you going to solve the problem?

Once you answer these questions, cross-check how much of it is what you think, and how much of it is data. You must realise the difference between ‘what you think’ and ‘what you actually know’ to make the most of this process.


Design thinking is more than a process— it is a mindset. It’s about circling back to the same questions but coming up with different answers every time. Think about the customer and let your product solve their problems.

Does your product eliminate the customer’s pain point?