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What is design-led thinking?

In a nutshell design-led thinkers use design-led thinking tools to innovate fast to solve problems. Big and small. 

We do more with less and the customer and consumer is always at the heart of every single decision.  

In fact, entire organisations, businesses, teams and individuals are collectively focused on solving the customers' problems. For a reason. To make business more sustainable, profitable and meaningful. 


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) consist of 17 Global Goals in 4 key areas, where we must take urgent action to create a more sustainable future. These include:

1. Climate and planet

2. Poverty and inequality

3. Justice and human rights

4. Gender equality

The UNSDGs are at the the centre of our design-led thinking approach and act as a framework for strategy and innovation to create better and change for good.

Reduce waste Increase profit Protect planet

We believe good business is commercially resilient and responsible to multiple stakeholders: people, communities and planet. As an example, Dr. Qu Dongyu, Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says:

"We need to urgently change how we produce, process and consume food today. There is a historic opportunity to transform agri-food systems, which are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Realigning incentives will be an important approach in such a transformation journey".

Step one: observe

Design thinkers step out of the office and into the real world to understand the complete customer experience. 

Better yet, we learn to effectively identify and empathise with the customers' problems along the way. 

We poke, prod and probe. We ask the uncomfortable questions. We have a conversation.  

Step two: define

Design thinker analyse, distract, distill and define.

We develop a deep understanding of customers' and consumers pain points to clearly articulate the problem statement, ready to solve.

Step three: ideate to solve

We create ideas that solve problems. 

We think laterally. We reimagine the problem. We rapidly prototype. We tell a new story. We listen. We play and ideate new ways to solve problems.

Step four: test & experiment

Finally, we test our ideas in the real world with real customers and consumers to see what works and what doesn't.

By working collaboratively we can accurately identify the gain points and failure points in ideas. The failures are most critical to success. 

And so the iterative design thinking process begins. Failure points are observed. Issues redefined. Improvements reimagined. And tested again.