What is the design thinking process? 

 … if you stick to the process, the outcome will come. And it will be genius, because no matter how creative or smart you think you are (or not), the process itself is genius. …

The design thinking process is something no one ever heard of, but everyone can do it.

Like the term suggests, it is a thinking process, but this probably does not mean anything to anyone. That is because, in general, no one really knows what a thinking process is, to most of us, thinking is thinking, and there’s nothing more to it. In reality, most kids (school) and most adults (work) are told what to do and think, so there is no need for anyone to think, and there is no need to think about thinking, as such…

In result, as a society, we do not pay attention to thinking, and we are not concerned with processes of any kind. Whether is education or emplyment, we primarily care about outcomes, ticked boxes, achievements and done tasks, not about how things are being done.

For the design thinking process both, the thinking and the process matter.

When I studied the design thinking I had a few ‘a-ha!’ and ‘OMG‘ moments. One came during our second task: designing a board game. It was two days before the deadline and I nearly quitted the whole thing but soon learned that if you stick to the process, the outcome will come. And most of the time it will be genius, because no matter how creative or smart you think you are (or not), the process itself is genius

The design diary.

A note from the designer’s diary – the beginning of the Awesome Life Design project.

So what is the design thinking process?

Simply speaking it is a way to figure out how to make something happen, and then make it happen. It is similar to solving a puzzle, playing chess, inventing a cure or solving a crime, sometimes all in one.

It also is all the awesome stuff you have made: the house or the tree house; the garden, kitchen or living room; the trip abroad, hiking adventure or camping in a forest; weddings, Christmas and dinner parties; and all the little things you invented, developed, planned or thought about. We can call it the design thinking freestyle.

The IDEO’s way.

A few years ago, the team of designers from IDEO observed, framed and developed the process, based on their experience and expertise in design. You can read more about it in The Design Thinking Process tab (at the top and bottom of the page).

In the design thinking process there is no hard rules, but there are 6 main steps to follow. Most of us are familiar with the first two – three of them:


 We usually know we have a problem (no space in the kitchen) or the goal (holiday trip).


And we know we have to think about it. Some people will not spend too much time on that, others will take notes or make a plan.


Some of us – the creative and adventurous ones – will make it to the third step, we will play with it, we will twist, turn and squeeze it, until we get what we want – an awesome idea or a genius thought.


The trial and error part, experiments, mistakes, development – putting everything together to see what was not seen before. This can be tricky one and only a few will make it that far.


The outcome, the final design. This can be something we intended, or things that just  happen to be the way they are. There is a difference, and as you will see, the key is in the design thinking process.


Did it work? Did it make a difference? Can we make a better model? There are still questions to be asked, when we think we are done.

In the upcoming weeks I will explain further each step of the design thinking process. Sign up (left top corner) if you want to learn how to think like a designer and receive a short email when an update comes.

ARE YOU A DESIGN THINKER? Message me via Awesome Life Design on Facebook.

PS. Hope my English was not bad. Get in touch if you can do better – badass editor needed.


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