The so-called Double Diamond is a good visualization of the design thinking process. The model distinguishes the problem space from the solution space. In both spaces, first new insights and options will be worked out (divergent thinking). After that, the ideas will be evaluated and selected (convergent thinking).
The focus of the problem space is the user. The aim of design thinking projects is to create solutions for human-centered problems. This means that if we have gained sufficient knowledge about our users, we can build on this knowledge and develop suitable solutions. This happens in the solution space.
Understand: Far from the first thought of solutions, it is important to penetrate the real problem. It is about understanding the topic and the context in which the users and the problem are embedded.
Observe: Once the problem has been identified, the target group will be analyzed. The focus is getting to know the users: Who are they? What are their needs? What are their wishes? Only by knowing the users well and have understood their problems, we can develop ideas and later a product or service that convinces and inspires them.
Point of View: At the end of the research and analysis, which has produced many insights from the user, there is a problem hypothesis, which at the same time forms the starting point for the generation of ideas. The Point of View determines which problem should be solved for which user group.
Ideation: The idea generation is based on the results from the problem space. The goal of ideation is to explore a wide solution space with a large quantity of ideas. Mentally the ideation process represents a process of “going wide” in terms of concepts and outcomes.
Prototyping: Prototypes serve to make the selected ideas tangible. They do not have to be perfect, but fast and easy to understand. A prototype can be anything that a user can interact with: Building bricks, Lego, role-playing, storyboard - everything is possible.
Test: By testing the prototypes feedback from the user can be obtained. The feedback helps to refine prototypes and solutions and learn more about your user.
In a perfect world, the process runs as it is shown here. However, this is often less straightforward in the real work environment. It is often necessary to iterate back and forth between phases and to repeat certain steps if the desired results have not yet been achieved. But the repetition of an already completed phase segment is not considered a step backwards, because the findings always lead to a better understanding of the user.