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Design thinking: A creative approach to problem solving

In today's world, dealing with rapidly changing and complex problems is more important than ever. When faced with such challenges, traditional solution methods may be inadequate. This is where "Design Thinking" comes into play. This approach focuses on solving problems in a creative and user-oriented way.

"What is Design Thinking?"

Design Thinking is essentially the application of design to the problem solving process. However, it is an approach that is not confined to a limited design area and can be applied to all kinds of problems.

The main purpose of this approach is to understand people's needs, produce creative solutions and implement these solutions quickly.

Therefore, design aims to provide a concrete solution to a complex problem that is socially ambiguous, not easy to understand, and not certain.

It is much more than a process, it opens up a completely new way of thinking and decision-making and provides tools to help you implement this new mindset. Design thinking improves the world around us every day because of its ability to disruptively and innovatively deliver groundbreaking solutions.

Unlike analytical thinking, which leads to a purely technical and solution-focused method of problem solving, the strategies taught focus on multidisciplinary teams and the inclusion of all perspectives

It can be viewed as a "metadisciplinary concept" that has proven to provide a valuable methodology for interdisciplinary creative work because it specifically complements monodisciplinary thinking.

"It is not a static process,

but a creative

problem-solving approach."

Basic Steps of Design Thinking

The design thinking process can be divided into five basic steps:

Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test.

At each stage, you may make

new discoveries

that may require you to

revisit previous stages.

As you consider the five steps of Design Thinking, it is important to know that it is not a linear process. Below we will refer to the process as sequential steps, but it is a very iterative cycle.


The first step in Design Thinking is to understand users' needs. In this step, you empathize with users and try to understand their emotional, physical and mental needs. You accomplish this step with tools such as observation, interviews, and user stories.

Define: Using the information obtained from the empathy phase, you better define your problem. In this phase, you analyze the data to clarify users' real problems and expectations.

Idea Generation:

In this stage, you come up with creative ideas to solve your problem. You put forward your ideas through thought workshops, brainstorms and similar techniques. The important thing at this stage is to be open to every idea and think critically.


Prototypes are created to embody the ideas produced. Prototypes are used to show how ideas can work in the real world. In this phase, you test designs by producing rapid and low-cost prototypes.


You get feedback by testing prototypes with users. Using this feedback, you improve and iterate on the design. User feedback helps you understand how effective your design is.

Why Should We Use Design Thinking?

It is User Oriented.

Design Thinking focuses on the needs of users and tries to meet these needs. This makes products and services more valuable to users.

It is creative.

Design Thinking encourages creative thinking and brings together ideas from different perspectives. This paves the way for innovation.

It is fast.

Design Thinking makes it possible to produce rapid solutions to problems thanks to rapid prototyping and testing processes. This saves time and resources.

Reduces Risks: Thanks to prototype tests, it is possible to foresee how your design will work in the real world. This reduces the risks.

Encourages Collaboration: Design Thinking encourages people from different disciplines to collaborate. This helps create much more comprehensive and effective solutions.

Greatest Examples of Design Thinking

Design Thinking has been successfully applied across a variety of industries and contexts, leading to innovative solutions and improved user experiences. Some successful examples of the design thinking process:


Apple is a prime example of a company that consistently uses Design Thinking in its product development process.

From the user-friendly interface of the iPhone to the stylish design of its laptops, Apple focuses on user needs and wants.

Not only functionality, but also aesthetics and how the product fits into the users' lives are taken into account. This approach has contributed to their status as leaders in consumer technology.



IBM used Design Thinking to transform its corporate culture and problem-solving approach.

They founded IBM Design, a program focused on creating user-focused products and services. Thanks to this initiative, they developed innovative solutions in areas such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.



Airbnb revolutionized the hospitality industry by applying Design Focus principles.

They started by focusing on user empathy, conducting in-depth interviews and surveys to understand the pain points of travelers and hosts. Airbnb's platform is designed to be user-centric; has made it easier for hosts to list their spaces and for travelers to find unique accommodations. This approach led to the company's rapid growth and success.



Toyota has applied Design Thinking principles to its manufacturing processes to increase efficiency and product quality. They implemented the "Toyota Production System" (TPS), which emphasizes continuous improvement and waste reduction.

Toyota has become a leader in the automotive industry by encouraging all employees to participate in problem-solving and innovation.

These examples show how Design Thinking can be applied in a variety of industries, from technology and healthcare to education and urban planning.

Design Thinking is frequently used in the education sector, especially for design students and business engineering, to develop student-focused educational materials and programs. Solutions are produced to improve students' learning experience. Its success lies in its ability to prioritize empathy, creativity, and iterative problem-solving to deliver meaningful and innovative solutions that meet users' needs and expectations.

How Did the Design Thinking Process Start at WearTechClub?

Özgül Dalkılıç and her team rolled up their sleeves to take TightClub, a sportswear brand, one step further by combining it with technology. Inspired by design thinking, which is used in the healthcare industry to improve patient experience and make healthcare services more accessible, she applied it to sports and athletes to make their own health data more accessible.

Focusing on the needs of athletes, she designed a better sports experience.

In the process, first empathy was established to understand the real needs of athletes and sports enthusiasts. In this step, our brand observed the athletes and held interviews with them. In this process, he tried to better understand the needs and expectations of athletes by asking questions and listening to users' experiences. Personas were researched and a customer journey map of these personas was created. This was actually the first step in identifying the problems in the process and reaching the real problems.

Using the data obtained from the empathy phase, the athletes' main problems were identified. At this stage, the difficulties encountered by the users while doing sports and their comfort and performance expectations were determined. Concrete solution suggestions were developed in line with real problems and needs. At this stage, innovative solutions such as artificial intelligence-defined solutions, innovative fabrics, and advanced mobile applications that can be used in sports technologies were considered.

With the strategies developed as a result of the research, it was decided to develop a "performance-based smart sports clothing" brand by developing the wearable technology that entered the lives of users with smart watches.

The WearTechClub brand, which emerged in this direction, continues to develop rapidly and continue its work.

How does it continue?

WearTechClub team attaches great importance to the design thinking process and believes that WearTechClub will be successful by constantly focusing on the needs of users and producing innovative solutions to meet these needs. Providing a user-oriented, creative and fast approach is the most important step for us.

It also believes that this success can be improved with a multi-disciplinary solution, including designers, engineers, software developers and athletes, and continues to progress in this direction.


Rauth, I., Köppen, E., Jobst, B., & Meinel, C. (2010). Design thinking: An educational model towards creative confidence. In DS 66-2: Proceedings of the 1st international conference on design creativity (ICDC 2010).

Dorst, K. (2011). The core of ‘design thinking’and its application. Design studies, 32(6), 521-532.

Cross, N. (2023). Design thinking: Understanding how designers think and work. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Stickdorn, M., & Schneider, J. (2012). This is service design thinking: Basics, tools, cases. John Wiley & Sons.


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