The Ultimate Guide
to Design Thinking
Explore everything from basic principles to cutting-edge applications in the 2023 Guide to Design Thinking.
An Innovation in Collaboration
Design Thinking provides a powerful framework for making human-centered decisions in our increasingly digital climate.
69% of global executives report Design Thinking makes their innovation process more efficient 
Get Started with Design Thinking
Learn how to use the Design Thinking process to build better products, services and solutions. Fully updated with thoughtful examples, tools and templates ready to use today.
What is Design Thinking?
Learn the key principles and core concepts of Design Thinking
The Design Thinking Process
Explore the moving pieces behind the Design Thinking process
How to Run a Design Thinking Workshop
Apply Design Thinking principles in any situation
User Stories, Maps and Examples
Create end-to-end understanding of user goals and requirements
Design Thinking Thought Starters
Not sure what Design Thinking is or where to start? Browse top questions and click through to see more.
Design Thinking is a human-centered design process that helps cross functional teams solve complex problems together. Design Thinking has become increasingly important since it was first described in the 1970s, as rapid technological development has turned most problems organizations face into ill-defined — or “wicked” problems. That is, problems where even the problem itself needs to be discovered.
Design Thinking was created through the combined efforts of engineers and industrial designers beginning in the 1950s. As a term, Design Thinking is often attributed to Herbert A Simon, who in 1979 described “a designerly way of thinking” that was both different from “scholarly” methods, yet equally powerful when applied to ambiguous, human-centered problems.
Design Thinking methodology helps teams apply the Design Thinking principles and mindsets to real-world situations. It outlines a set of stages and steps, which are completed through activities conducted in Design Thinking workshops or sprints.
Every Design Thinking project starts in the Discovery stage, where a cross-functional team maps out the opportunity space. The output of Discovery is commonly called the “Current Landscape”, and it includes insights that answer three big questions: WHO are we designing for? WHAT do we have? HOW will we measure success?
94% of global executives are dissatisfied with their organizations’ innovation performance 
Top Design Thinking Activities
Explore the activities that guide the innovative solutions we use every day.
Develop a deeper understanding of your current or potential users and their motivationsLearn More
A rich, realistic profile of your user that bring them to life for the entire teamLearn More
User journey map
A bird’s eye view of one user that encompasses all key touch points relevant to your solutionLearn More
- Harvard Business Review, Brown T, Christensen CM, Nooyi I, Govindarajan V. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Design Thinking (with featured article “Design Thinking” By Tim Brown). Harvard Business Press; 2020.
- Schmiedgen J, Rhinow H, Köppen E. Parts without a whole?: The current state of Design Thinking practice in organizations. Universitätsverlag Potsdam; 2016.