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Design Thinking

The need to keep the focus on the user with Design Thinking

Know more about this methodology and how it has become fundamental to the companies’ innovation process.

Talking about innovation is a topic that generally challenges some companies since most need help knowing where to start or what tools to use to implement it efficiently.

The first step is to start with a diagnosis that seeks to identify which areas are lagging in the company and which need an action plan to optimize the organization’s results.

To do so, you can download our Corporate Innovation Culture Diagnosis tool, which assesses the corporation’s innovation maturity and shows specific points to make the organization even more innovative.

In this article, we will address the key points that permeate Design Thinking and its importance for the innovative process of companies.

Good reading!

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is an innovative problem-solving approach that has gained prominence recently. This methodology emerged in the 1990s in the United States to promote creativity and innovation in design projects.

One of the main characteristics of Design Thinking is the focus on the human being. This means that instead of developing solutions based only on assumptions and preconceived ideas, Design Thinking relies on empathy to understand the user’s needs, desires, and challenges. To apply this approach, five steps are required: empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing.

Following the 5 steps

1 Empathy

One of the most essential elements that make up the Design Thinking process is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to really understand the final consumer’s needs.

In other words, when we put ourselves in the user’s shoes and see the world through their eyes, we can create more effective and meaningful solutions that meet their real needs.

Therefore, empathy helps us to better define the problems we are trying to solve and to find solutions that really add value for people.

2 Definition

In a later step, the definition helps us to understand and delimit the problem we are trying to solve. By clearly defining the scope of the challenge, we direct our efforts to where positive impacts will be generated.

The definition also helps us establish success criteria and measure the impact of our solutions. It is a critical step that allows us to move forward with confidence in the process of creation and innovation.

3 Ideation

As every good creative process requires the “generation of ideas,” with Design Thinking, it would be no different. At that moment, with the problem and priorities already defined, it is time to let the ideas flow among the team so that the focus is entirely on solving the problem.

One of the most known and used techniques is the brainstorming sessions, which basically consist of sharing ideas that will be useful to reach the final model of this approach (the testing phase).

4 Prototyping

As the name implies, here, we have a phase that precedes the execution of any idea, which is why “prototypes” are created.

The critical point here is to review the ideas generated in the previous phase so that an initial version of what was thought is created, reducing the risk of failures that could cost the organization a lot of time and money.

If your team is creating a website and you don’t have enough time to build it all, the idea is to create just the homepage, so you have an idea of the rest of the structure. This is what we call a “prototype.”

5 Tests

Here is the opportunity to naturally validate our ideas and prototypes, identify weaknesses and strengths, collect valuable feedback, and iterate the project based on the information collected.

Testing helps us refine our solutions and ensure we’re building something that solves the problem effectively. It is a critical step that allows us not only to create innovative solutions but also to measure the results obtained to make new improvements in the future.

Practical cases 

Case Natura

An interesting example of the application of Design Thinking is the case of Natura. The company recognized for its sustainable beauty products and concern for the environment, used the methodology to create a new business model that aligned its business practices with its values.

To find a solution, the brand’s researchers took an empathetic approach, staying in consumers’ homes to see how they used the shampoo daily. Through this immersion, the design thinking team realized that people prefer to buy refills, as in addition to being cheaper, they take up less space in the bathroom cabinet.

Based on this information, Natura developed packaging that is 70% cheaper and takes up 94% less space than the average for other shampoo bottles, making the Sou line the company’s most sustainable cosmetic.

 Case Havaianas

The brand so dear and adored by Brazilians was included and became an emblematic case. To launch handbags for São Paulo Fashion Week, the company hired IDEO, a consultancy specializing in Design Thinking, a reference on the world stage.

The researchers then started talking to people from Brazil and other countries such as Australia, India, England, and France, seeking to understand mainly what perception these consumers had of the brand.

They focused 100% on the customer and developed products —going through the prototyping and testing stages—based on their actual needs. As a result, Havaianas debuted its handbags at São Paulo Fashion Week in 2008 and launched them worldwide in 2009.

Case Plastipak

Like Design Thinking, Organizational Ambidexterity requires a cultural transformation in the company, with changes in processes, structures, and employees’ mindsets.

One of the most emblematic cases in which we operate is that of Plastipak, a plastic packaging manufacturer. From the beginning, we developed a program that aimed to facilitate the development of a culture of innovation in the company, encourage the use of agile methodologies and disseminate innovation tools in everyday life.

The project relied on our team of specialists throughout the process, from identifying challenges and mapping opportunities for improving the company’s culture to developing and executing solutions and testing obstacles raised by the work teams.

Plastipak’s blog article (Click here to read our complete article) shows how the company positively dealt with these transformations and brought a unique experience to the work environment.

How to apply it in your business?

Now that you know what Design Thinking is, why not learn how to apply it in your business? Check out the step by step to have a thought focused on innovation:

Understand the problem: identify the problem your company needs to solve and seek to deeply understand the needs and desires of the users involved.


Conduct research to gather relevant information about the problem and users using interviews, observation, and data analysis techniques.


create a multidisciplinary team and encourage collaboration and creativity to generate innovative ideas to solve the identified problem.


build prototypes of the ideas generated, testing and evaluating their effectiveness with users.


perform tests with the prototypes developed and collect user feedback to evaluate the solution’s effectiveness.


implement the chosen solution after evaluating the test results and continuously adapting it to improve its effectiveness in the long term; after all, it is a process that requires constant improvement.

Also, watch our Webinar and understand how to build a culture of innovation in companies, something essential to take your first steps and direct your focus to what really matters: the needs of your target audience.

Critical tools for thinking outside the box

Canvas Scamper

With the Canvas Scamper tool, generating ideas becomes a fluid process and encourages greater engagement among the team. In practice, it is an idea generation technique (click here to download the tool) that helps the team think creatively and innovatively to solve problems and solve business challenges.

Canvas Empathy

Developing products and services requires the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the people who will consume them; this tool must be part of your portfolio.

The Empathy Canvas (click here to download the tool) is an innovation tool that allows companies and teams to better understand users’ needs, desires, and behaviors to develop more effective and relevant solutions for them.

Canvas Persona

Understanding your target audience’s pain will undoubtedly need to be well-defined for the whole team; after all, you don’t want to create solutions that don’t solve anything, right?

The objective of working with Canvas de Persona (click here to download the tool) is to create a profile that summarizes the main characteristics of customers so that the company or startup can create strategies aligned with their audience, capable of meeting their demands.

 Discovery Process Structuring Canvas

The Discovery Process Structuring Canvas (click here to download the tool) is an innovation tool that helps companies and teams structure the discovery process, define the process steps and ensure that each step is aligned with the discovery goals. Company innovation.

Therefore, it improves internal communication between teams and helps identify points to be developed, something fundamental to increase your assertiveness in implementing Design Thinking in your company’s culture.

 Canvas Storyboard

By creating visual stories with Canvas Storyboard, the team can communicate ideas clearly and concisely and help identify issues and challenges that may arise in the development process. This tool is also helpful for testing ideas with users and getting feedback to improve the Design.

Therefore, the Canvas Storyboard (click here to download the tool) serves as a visual compass for the work team, letting the team know all the processes that will happen until the project is completed.

Be part of the innovation ecosystem and increase your company’s competitiveness

Ever heard the expression “training is training, the game is the game”? This article discusses the main concepts of Design Thinking and companies that have successfully applied it. We separate valuable tips for you to apply in your business.

Thus, companies must begin to apply this methodology in their innovation processes, understanding customer needs and generating solutions focused on solving the persona’s pain.

And when we talk about innovation, we have a specialized team to help you on this journey that not only promotes creative ideas for your business but also aligns your team to always be focused on the organization’s objectives and increases the competitiveness of your business.

Contact us!

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