Business development is an ever-evolving enterprise with constantly developing new and innovative approaches. Design Thinking and Design Doing offer an ideal platform for businesses to flexibly and comprehensively develop strategies to meet their goals.

Both methods are used at many levels of business. Whether it’s project management, strategic planning, product or service development, or even marketing and advertising, these are the areas where thinking, focused on finding the user’s problems, followed by actions, meaning the tangible creation of solutions to those problems and their evaluation, are critical. 

Combining these methodologies can achieve a more holistic approach to problem-solving and creating new ideas. Also, it allows solutions to be brought to the market more quickly. This can be particularly useful when a product is necessary to adapt rapidly to changing market conditions or customer needs. 

This article will tell you how combining Design Thinking and Design Doing provides businesses with a toolkit for successful development.

Design Thinking vs. Design Doing – similarities and differences

Design Thinking is a concept known for a long time in the business environment. It is an ideology for creating innovations that emphasizes understanding the needs and perspectives of potential users. It works based on iterations in which you have to empathize with the user, understand the problem, generate ideas to solve it, create mockups, and test them with the target group. You can find more about this methodology in the Nielsen Norman Group article about Design Thinking Framework

It will hardly come as a surprise that Design Thinking is a powerful tool for creative innovation, but the vision won’t come true without taking the right actions. Creativity allows us to create an idea in our heads, but then it’s up to us to turn it into something tangible. Dan Norman himself (co-founder of Nielsen Norman Group) has stated that “we need more Design Doing,” which currently is often forgotten. 

The concept of Design Doing is not so popular. It is an approach that focuses on implementing a design project in the real world. This process focuses on developing products that respond to people’s needs and are adapted to operate in a given environment. Design Doing can range from planning the implementation to preparing the right conditions for that and even choosing the best technology. It is also agile decision-making about what is worth implementing and in what hierarchy. 

Business applications of UX design process

Design Thinking and Design Doing have a wide range of applications — from designing products and services, by improving existing solutions, to streamlining business if companies are experiencing a lack of innovation and the results of their work are not producing the desired outcome. 

Both methodologies overlap each other – they emphasize creativity, rely on the collaboration of the entire team, and above all, focus on delivering real value to users. On the other hand, design thinking is a more linear approach with predetermined stages. It focuses on finding solutions and defines the destination for the project. Design Doing, as the name itself suggests, is about taking action – implementation, testing, and continuous improvement. It is a more flexible and change-prone approach. 

It’s worth noting that to achieve the best results, it’s important to remember that Design Thinking and Design Doing are inseparable from a practical design and problem-solving process. Understanding how the harmony of these two concepts works is the first step to success.

How to put these design concepts into practice?

The use of Design Thinking and Design Doing in IT industry projects should be an everyday occurrence – it is a comprehensive approach to developing applications and platforms, making them valuable and audience-oriented. By combining both methods with each other, we take care of the best final result. 

Below, I will present some tips on how to incorporate Design Doing into the Design Thinking process smoothly:

Take care of user testing

One of the best ways to evaluate your assumptions and goals is to subject your product to usability testing. Many people skip this due to limited budgets and tight deadlines, but also out of fear of test results. “If the test detects a problem, the whole concept will have to be changed!” – yes, this approach often requires additional work and time, but the sooner you test your ideas, the better! By not bypassing the testing stage of solutions and prototypes, you can easily catch unwanted mistakes and misunderstandings, which will help you avoid unforeseen costs that often arise after product deployment. Also, it is the best way to reduce project risk and find possible pain points that users might experience while facing your product. 

Trust the specialists

Don’t be afraid to trust your team – let them do their job! After all, they are specialists in their craft. Let User Experience Designers, Product Managers, and other project group members give ideas for product development. What’s more, involving them from the beginning in the process of finding answers to users’ needs can have a very positive effect – it won’t only help them empathize with the target group from the first stages but also deepens their understanding of the concept of the entire project and their role. 

Involve developers in the process

The participation of developers in the Design Thinking process is crucial, as they will be responsible for implementing the technical aspects of your ideas. By presenting the entire vision to them, they are the ones who can suggest solutions that will turn out to be a hit! It will also prevent you from thinking about solutions that are technologically impossible to create. 

Plan and evaluate actions 

Planning development actions is crucial in the Design Doing process because it helps ensure that the final product is feasible to build and maintain. Effective planning involves breaking down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks and creating a timeline for completing them. It also helps identify potential roadblocks or challenges that may arise during the implementation process and develop strategies to overcome them. Evaluation helps to find areas for improvement and ensure that the project stays on track.


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Innovate your design process

Design Thinking has gained widespread popularity across all industries due to helping companies achieve their full potential. However, it is essential to recognize that the Design Doing phase is the key to turning ideas into practical solutions and successful innovations.

As John Maeda states, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works“. This idea emphasizes the physical work created through Design Doing, which is something that Design Thinking alone cannot reach. It is essential to take action toward implementing and testing your ideas actively. Don’t be afraid to make necessary changes as needed, and remember the value of teamwork – it will surely increase your product’s chances of accomplishing success!