University of Nebraska Medical Center

Definition of Design Thinking

Breakthrough ideas are born when you're not afraid to fail forward.

The Design Thinking mindset allows you to break free from traditional thinking to re-examine problems in new ways and act upon unconventional ideas.

Design Thinking is an iterative, circular process.

Design thinking helps you solve problems by identifying challenges, gathering information, and refining ideas. It taps into your empathetic research, creative brainstorming, collaboration and prototyping skills. The process is not always sequential, and the phases often repeat, which allows you to identify potential problems early on and hone solutions to fix them.

Key Stages of Design Thinking

There are six key stages of the design thinking process, and many times you'll have to go back and adapt them further before the process is complete.

 Infographic shows overlapping circles with the stages of design thinking written in them: empathize, define, ideate, create, test, implement

Learn more about each stage in the Design Thinking process.