Our first step in the Design Thinking Course. In this step we need to identify how to start the process. Where to start and what are our next steps?

Looking on the process picture the first tap is called Empathize. In some other Visuals you can see the first step is also called “Understand”. Why is it called empathize? You as the designer should empathize with the challenge ahead. Get in a connection with the problem you are looking at. But what´s behind the first step. Getting an overview about the challenge you will engage now.

Understand the challenge

As the first step you need to understand the problem or the task you are looking at. You need to be clear on the target and task you want to accomplish. This will bring you to define the design challenge. Most of the projects descriptions are defined in a way much to broad and formulated not well enough to be used as an effective design thinking challenge. Think about what you want to do and how. Define the Problem, define the design challenge. Very often this needs to be arranges with your stakeholders.

Defining the design challenge well, will help you to avoid unnecessary time and work wasting during the process.

Defining the design challenge also includes the focus on your work. You need to be sure on what is in scope of the challenge and which aspects are not in scope of the challenge. To be more visible on the scope of work you can use several methods as asking the 5 Why´s or use the problem definition method to focus your scope work.

Define the way of work

In this step you will also arrange your team about the upcoming design challenge. What are you looking for and how you will go for it. Define rules and a common language for you team. Bring everyone on the same level and prepare your kick off for the next steps.


At the end of this step you should be able to describe the design challenge to others in a ways that they will understand what kind of problem will be solved or what purpose the solutions will have. The design challenge will define the scope of work. Also defines some rules on how the challenge will be handled.



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