How to Leverage Design Thinking for Product Development

Design thinking is an important tool for product development. It’s a productive problem-solving process that applies user-centric design principles to develop solutions to difficult customer issues. When it comes to designing a product to solve problems, there are many tips, terms, and suggestions to consider. However, utilizing design thinking as a method of approach is essential to create a product that prioritizes the needs and wants of the user.

 Product development is not easy. It requires a lot of thought and effort. Therefore, it should always be divided into appropriate phases or stages that will collectively create the solution that the user seeks (ultimately, the product).

 It may require hard work and dedication, however, it is worthwhile if your goal is to remain ahead of your competitors. One way to do this is to use design thinking during the product development process.

Read also: Seven Steps of Software Product Development Life Cycle

In Today’s world, the competition is intense, making it a great task for SMBs and small brands that may not have big budgets for design and product development. That’s where you need design thinking to help you break down even the most complex problems into manageable pieces and then develop innovative solutions that meet customer needs.

 By incorporating design thinking into your product development cycle, you can come up with creative ways to solve customer problems as well as create products that are different from those of your competitors,  giving you a competitive edge in an ever-evolving market.

 Let’s dive in and talk about design thinking and what exactly is this process, why is it necessary? and how to leverage design thinking for product development.

Read also: Top Strategies for managing product roadmaps

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a process of problem-solving used by designers to develop creative solutions. It involves a deep understanding most effectively, and how to meet those needs most effectively.

 Design thinking focuses on creating solutions not just for the immediate need but for future problems that may arise as well. The goal is to create an experience that meets user expectations while also satisfying business goals.

To be successful in the business world, it is essential to embrace design thinking. This means thinking outside of the box and coming up with creative and attainable suggestions that meet real human needs and Being creative and coming up with solutions that bring value and make a difference! 

Product managers must combine design thinking into their product commercialization and lifecycle method to promote a customer-focused strategy to help them. Design thinking encourages collaboration between different members of the product development team, allowing for more effective ideation and prototyping.

The 4 D’s of Design Thinking

We all have a lot of things to keep in mind and remember when starting something new. But there are ways to make it easier by using acronyms or lists which can be of help! For example, in the case of design thinking processes, the “4 D’s” are incredibly useful.

Design Thinking starts with Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver – or the 4 D’s. With this concept in mind, you can simplify the process and break it down into an easy-to-follow framework. This helps teams understand what they need to focus on while also keeping their end goal in sight.

Discover: This stage allows you to explore potential issues that users may experience and identify the target audience your business is aiming to reach. Additionally, you will develop ideas and conduct user experience research.

Define: During this stage, Your design team will use a solution-based approach to define the problem, consider alternative solutions, and decide on the solution to offer.

Develop: After defining these elements, research and ideations should be conducted to further the development of a final product. It is usually recommended for a team to prototype and test afterwards.

Delivery: This final stage is also called the testing phase. Where after providing the solution, the user can resume their prior activity. This is where also ongoing experiments are performed.

These 4 D’s of Design Thinking is all about understanding customer needs and wants. It is an approach that involves research, analysis, and creative problem-solving to develop the best product or services for your customers.

 By taking the time to understand user needs through design thinking, businesses can create powerful products and services that their users truly value.

 Here are a few tips on how to leverage design thinking for product development:

1. Identify the Problem: 

The first step in using design thinking is to identify the problem you’re trying to solve with your product or service. You can do this by talking directly with potential customers, conducting surveys or interviews, or analyzing existing customer feedback. This step helps you understand customer needs better and gives you clarity on what type of solution will best meet those needs.

2. Ask Questions: 

Once you have identified the problem, the next stage of the process is about clearly defining the problem you’re trying to solve. It’s important to ask questions and dig into them to come up with effective solutions. What other factors might be influencing the issue? How are users currently solving this problem? What would be most useful for them as a solution? Asking these types of questions can generate insights on what type of features your product should provide to best resolve the issue at hand.

3. Brainstorm Solutions:

 This is where creativity comes into play! During brainstorming sessions, encourage team members from all different backgrounds (i.e engineers, marketers, designers)to come up with ideas that could potentially solve the problem identified in step one as well as enhance user experience overall through engaging visuals and interactions with your product or service. 

This stage allows you to get creative and start brainstorming ideas! Using the ideation stage of the design thinking process, focus on understanding your customer’s needs and problems. This will provide a strong foundation to begin creating ideas that meet their needs.

4 Iterate & Test: 

Once your team has narrowed down potential solutions from brainstorming sessions, it’s time to start testing them out! Prototyping small versions of each idea allows you to test various features quickly before investing resources into developing a full-scale version. You can also share the prototype with the design team and other departments to receive their feedback and make improvements. 

If needed, create prototypes for several of the ideas developed during ideation to determine which one is most capable of resolving the issue identified. Be sure to collect feedback from users during these tests so that their experiences help inform future iterations.

5. Use metrics in the concept testing process.

Finally, To ensure that concept testing for gaining a deeper understanding of users is successful, product managers must make sure to create context and a premise for how the theory will be evaluated. They should also remember to use SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) metrics to measure the test. 

Read also: How We Build our software development team structure


Design Thinking provides valuable support throughout all stages of Product Development, from identifying customer problems to refining prototypes. By leveraging Design Thinking, teams can create products that offer genuine value for their customers. 

However, implementing design thinking into your work can help team members think more creatively while also staying on track with their goals. Product managers can apply design thinking principles to their work to ensure that products are developed with the user in mind. By following these steps and implementing design thinking correctly, product managers can ensure that concept testing yields more insightful results.
 So, if you want to increase creativity and innovation within your organization, look no further than design thinking! At Soar Digital, we help product managers leverage their businesses using design thinking.

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