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Design thinking is a popular, yet often misunderstood, design methodology. It has been around for a few decades now, and is used in many industries to create innovative solutions. In software development, design thinking can be used to come up with creative solutions to problems that are often difficult to solve using traditional methods. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at design thinking and how it can help development teams create innovative software solutions.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is an iterative design process that relies on a combination of creativity and user-centered design to come up with innovative solutions. The design thinking approach begins by gathering information about the problem at hand, then exploring various alternative solutions before settling on one. Throughout this iterative process, design team members need to keep the end user in mind, as well as the design principles that will lead to the most effective solution.

The history of design thinking

Design thinking has its roots in design-oriented disciplines such as architecture and engineering, as well as the study of design cognition. It was first introduced by design Nobel Prize laureate Herbert Simon in his 1969 book, The Sciences of the Artificial. In the early 1990s, the company IDEO brought design thinking into the mainstream. Today, the method is taught at universities and business schools.

Who uses design thinking methodology today?

Design thinking is now widely used in many industries, from healthcare to finance. It has become especially popular within the software development community, as it enables teams to come up with innovative solutions that solve real-world problems.

The benefits of design thinking for software development teams

Design thinking provides a structured approach to problem-solving that allows software development teams to design solutions that are user-focused, innovative and effective. It enables teams to move quickly from concept to implementation and take advantage of rapid prototyping to test out ideas before committing resources to development. Additionally, design thinking encourages collaboration among team members, which leads to more productive design processes.

How design thinking is used in practice

Design thinking is often used in fields where innovation is key, such as product development and marketing. In software development, design thinking can help teams to come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. The design thinking process begins with a deep understanding of the problem at hand. Once the problem has been clearly defined, design team members can begin to explore various possible solutions. At this stage, design professionals can use design thinking principles such as brainstorming, user testing and prototyping to create innovative software solutions.

Design thinking principles and methodology

The design thinking approach is based on several core principles: empathy, creative problem-solving, and iterative design. Empathy helps design teams understand how users interact with their product, while creative problem-solving encourages them to challenge existing assumptions and come up with innovative solutions. Iterative design involves a continuous cycle of design and refinement, with regular feedback from users. Together, these design thinking principles can help software development teams create innovative software solutions that meet user needs and solve real-world problems.


Encourage team members to think outside the box and come up with creative ideas for solving the problem.

Defining user needs

Understand the needs of the end user, and design solutions that meet those needs.

User testing

Test out design ideas on users to get feedback that can be used to improve the design.


Rapidly develop prototypes of design solutions to test their effectiveness before committing resources to development.

Iterative design

Test, iterate and refine designs until the best possible solution is achieved..


Design teams must take into account the needs and wants of their end user. 


Design teams need to brainstorm ideas and explore various solution options.

The design thinking process

The design thinking process can be divided into five phases. First, design teams must identify the problem they are trying to solve. Next, they should explore various design solutions and test them with users to get feedback. Finally, design teams should refine their design until they have a solution that meets user needs.

Stage 1: empathize

At this stage, design teams must gain a deeper understanding of the problem that needs to be solved. They should research users and their context to gain new insights into their behavior and preferences.

Stage 2: define

Design teams should use the information gathered in the empathize stage to create a design brief that outlines the project goals and design requirements. This design brief will be used to define parameters and inform design decisions.

Stage 3: ideate

At this stage, design team members should brainstorm ideas for design solutions and explore different options. This can involve drawing up design concepts on paper, creating mood boards or conducting user testing. 

Stage 4: prototype

Once design teams have come up with design ideas, they should create prototypes to test them. Prototypes can be physical or digital depending on the design solution and should be tested with users to get feedback.

Stage 5: test

Design teams should test their design solutions with end users to get feedback and refine design elements until the most effective design is achieved.

Inspiring innovative ideas during the software development process

Design thinking is an invaluable tool for software developers looking to create innovative solutions. By applying design thinking principles, software development teams can create innovative solutions to real-world problems. Design thinking encourages collaboration between design professionals and users, and helps design teams quickly move from concept to implementation. By embracing design thinking principles, software developers can create innovative software solutions and key features that meet user needs and have a lasting impact.

Olga Trąd

Marketing Manager

Fascinated by the spirit of innovation that permeates the IT industry, Olga has never abandoned her roots as an IT content marketing specialist. She draws on years of experience in the technology sector to shed light on interesting trends, solutions and practices.

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