Test the waters with design thinking to increase your chances for success.

“No market need” is the main reason that start-ups often fail within their first 18 months. An offering may look good on paper but how will it perform in the real world? How will customers take to it? Is there even a need for it?

Start-ups take too much time, money and energy to create something nobody wants. If nobody wants your product, there’s a high chance you’ll fail before you even get off the ground. Test the waters and take a design thinking approach to your start-up and offer.

Credits: https://www.cbinsights.com/

What is design thinking?

People buy solutions, not products or services. Design thinking is therefore a human-centred methodology focused on creating solutions for problems through close and empathetic observation of customers.

It’s a collaborative and generative process that involves a continuous cycle of building, measuring and learning informed by market testing and user feedback. By validating solutions with real users, the focus is on outcome rather than output and it allows start-ups to fail fast and resolve rapidly.

Design thinking provides start-ups with a competitive edge by getting closer to customers and understanding their needs, motivations and expectations in the aim of meeting and exceeding them.

Design thinking process


The basic pillars of design thinking are constant:

  • Empathise: Observe potential users and establish an in-depth understanding of customers and their needs
  • Point of view: Identify and define the problem to be solved
  • Ideate: Generate ideas quickly
  • Prototype: Transform those ideas into testable prototypes
  • Test: Validate the prototypes with real customers
  • Feedback loop: Refine the next offering iteration based on users’ response

Customer empathy and design thinking

Empathy is our ability to see, feel and experience the world form other people’s perspectives; to put aside preconceived ideas and understand the ideas, thoughts and needs of others. In design thinking, customer empathy is the ability to walk in your customers’ shoes and allow that experience to shape the outcome.

Have aperson in your team think solely from the customer’s perspective. Their language should be about benefits to the customers and their objective point of view should challenge ideas.

Design thinking can be the reason for success or failure. Make it stage zero of your product development lifecycle to increase your opportunities of success and reduce your chances of failure.