The Hasso-Plattner Institute suggests the following definition: "Design Thinking is a systematic approach to complex problems from all areas of life. The process can be roughly divided into 6 phases: (1) Deep understanding of a problem, (2) Investigation of the problem and the environment, (3) Adaptation and refinement of the problem analysis, the synthesis, (4) Finding ideas for a solution approach, (5) Development of prototypes and (6) Testing. These 6 phases are repeated in several iterative loops until (hopefully) a practicable solution is found.

The procedure described in this way still sounds comparatively banal, especially for those who are familiar with agile project management methods. Design Thinking emphasizes (and enforces) the early development of prototypes and testing, it emphasizes the iterative process. In addition, Design Thinking offers for each of these steps a set of tools that make it possible to work systematically and time efficiently. These include best practices to spaces to stimulate creativity for a design thinking team, creative techniques and techniques such as "Persona" (detailed characterization of the behavior of a representative target group person) or "Immersion" (personal experience of a relevant situation in the customer experience chain). Other techniques include "devil's kitchen", "empathy map", "dot voting", "dark horse" and more.


The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.