The Three Phases of Design Thinking: Immersion, Ideation and Prototyping

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Design Thinking - MJV BlogAt the end of October, here on the blog we published a series of posts talking about the three phases of Design Thinking (immersion, ideation and prototyping). Some readers, through social networks, asked us to provide a summary of all the phases in a single post. Here it is:

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a set of methods and processes used to identify and tackle problems, through which we generate creative thinking – in other words, a way of thinking creatively about business using unconventional means. Employed at modern companies, this methodology is basically related to the collection of information, analysis of knowledge and proposal of solutions.

Design Thinking refers to the way designers (in this case, professionals looking for solutions of any kind) in the corporate world think using abductive reasoning – thinking “outside the box.” In this way, they seek to formulate questions by understanding phenomena, observing the problem’s entire context.

In the book Design Thinking – Innovation in Business (MJV Press, 2012), one of the most respected works in the field in Brazil, this explanation is given in much greater depth. In it, the authors present the three phases of DT: immersion, ideation and prototyping.

A quick explanation of each of these phases is given below:

Immersion: finding the origin of the problem

This is the phase of getting close to the problem. The team seeks to dive into the implications of the challenge, studying it from both the company’s and client’s perspective.

Immersion may be divided into two parts: Preliminary, when there is first contact with the problem; and In-Depth, when we start to identify the needs and opportunities that will guide the generation of solutions in the following phase of the project, Ideation.

Ideation: brainstorming

In this brainstorming phase, ideas are presented without being judged at all. It’s the moment for really thinking “outside the box,” proposing solutions to the problem. To this end, we use synthesis tools to stimulate creativity and generate solutions in line with the context of the subject in question.

There are no limits to ideas in this phase. It is also advisable to have a variety of profiles of people involved in ideation, including the people who will benefit from the proposed solutions.

Prototyping: time to make decisions

“Prototyping means making an idea tangible; it is the passage from the abstract to the physical in order to represent reality – even if simplified – and promote validations,” explain the authors of Design Thinking – Innovation in Business.

In short, Prototyping is the phase of validating the ideas generated. It is the time to trim things down, see what fits in the project, bring proposals together and get down to work.

Despite being presented as the final phase, prototyping can happen at the same time as the other phases. As ideas arise, they can be prototyped, tested and, in some cases, even implemented.

Interested? See how the MJV team can contribute, through Design Thinking, to transforming your business challenges into innovative solutions: click here!

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