Do all people need design thinking?

Prashanthi Anand Rao
4 min readNov 17, 2021


Design Thinking is not limited to designers; it has been applied to innovators at all levels.

How is Design Thinking defined?

Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we aim to understand the user, test assumptions, and reframe challenges in order to uncover alternate tactics and solutions that may not be immediately evident at our current level of understanding.

Simultaneously, Design Thinking promotes a solution-focused approach to issue solving. It is both a way of thinking and working and a collection of practical techniques.

Design Thinking is centred on a sincere desire to understand the people for whom we are making products or services. It enables us to observe and create empathy for the target user, as well as to engage in the process of questioning: the problem, the assumptions, and the implications.

Design Thinking is particularly beneficial for handling challenges that are ill-defined or unknown, as it involves re-framing the problem in a human-centric manner, brainstorming several ideas, and prototyping and testing with a hands-on approach.

Additionally, Design Thinking entails continuous experimentation: drawing, prototyping, testing, and experimenting with concepts and ideas.

Phases of Design Thinking

There are five phases of design thinking are as follows:

  1. Empathize — with — your users (users can be students, teachers, clients etc.,)

2. Define — your users’ requirements, their issues, and your observations

3. Ideate — through challenging preconceived notions and generating novel solutions

4. Prototype — to initiate the process of solution creation

5. Solutions to tests.

How do individuals develop, design their thinking?

Humans develop thinking patterns naturally as a result of repetitive activities and commonly accessed knowledge.

These enable us to apply the same actions and knowledge in similar or familiar situations more quickly, but they also have the potential to prevent us from rapidly accessing or developing new ways of seeing, understanding, and solving problems.

These cognitive patterns are frequently referred to as schemas, which are organized collections of data and relationships between objects, actions, and thoughts that are stimulated and initiated in the human mind in response to environmental stimuli. A single schema can contain an enormous amount of data.

A Case Study in Problem Solving: The Overburdened Mind vs. the Unburdened Mind

Thinking creatively can result in an innovative solution to a perplexing problem. However, thinking outside the box can be a real challenge because our thinking patterns are naturally modelled after the repetitive activities and commonly accessed knowledge that surround us.

A few years ago, a truck driver attempted to pass beneath a low bridge. However, he was unsuccessful, and the truck became firmly lodged beneath the bridge. The driver was unable to proceed or reverse out.

According to the story, when the truck became stuck, it created massive traffic jams, forcing emergency personnel, engineers, firefighters, and truck drivers to collaborate and negotiate various solutions for freeing the trapped vehicle.

Emergency crews debated whether to dismantle the truck or chip away at sections of the bridge. Each advocated for a solution that was within his or her area of expertise.

A young boy passing by and witnessing the heated debate looked at the truck, then at the bridge, then at the road and said nonchalantly, “Why not just let the air out of the tires?” to the astonishment of all the specialists and experts attempting to resolve the issue.

When the solution was tested, the truck drove freely, having sustained only minor damage during its initial attempt to pass beneath the bridge.

The story exemplifies the difficulties we face, where the most obvious solutions are frequently the most difficult to find due to the self-imposed constraints we operate under.

Design Thinking or ‘Thinking Outside the Box

Design Thinking is frequently referred to as ‘outside the box thinking since designers strive to establish new ways of thinking that are not constrained by the mainstream or more prevalent problem-solving methodologies.

At its core, Design Thinking is motivated by the desire to better products through an examination of how people interact with them and an examination of the conditions in which they work.

At the heart of Design Thinking is the desire and capacity to pose critical questions and challenge preconceived notions.

One aspect of thinking beyond the box is falsifying previous assumptions — that is, making it easy to demonstrate whether they are valid or not.

After we’ve questioned and studied the conditions around a problem, the solution-generation process will assist us in developing ideas that accurately reflect the genuine restrictions and facets of that particular situation.

Design Thinking enables us to delve a little further; it enables us to conduct the necessary research and to prototype and test our products and services in order to identify new methods to improve the product, service, or design.

Everybody Can Use Design Thinking

Design thinking is not just for designers; it is also for creative employees, freelancers, and leaders who want to incorporate design thinking at every level of an organization, product, or service in order to generate new commercial and societal alternatives.

“Design thinking begins with the abilities designers have developed over decades of balancing human requirements with available technology resources within the restrictions of business.

By fusing what is desired from a human standpoint with what is technologically and economically practical, designers have been able to develop the goods we now enjoy.

Design thinking goes the next step by putting these tools in the hands of people who may never have considered themselves to be designers and allowing them to apply them to a far broader range of challenges.”



Prashanthi Anand Rao

teaching mathematics and design, Sharing the experiences learned in the journey of life.