Design Thinking: a Human to Humans Decalogue

Mihai Svasta
3 min readDec 18, 2020

I confess that lately, many projects have been poured into our heads, and that’s why I haven’t even had time to sit, reflect, and write. Probably many companies — and decision-makers out there — got in touch with Design Thinking and said, mmm, interesting, let’s do it too!

And they probably looked for us because we get results, not just coloured post-its (but also have those, no worries).

So far, so good and flattering. It’s just that this is where the hard work begins. And looking back at the last 3 years of project implementations, we made a list of 10 points that I would give to each client when they start a project. Why 10? To be simple and finite, and because Moses, u know (although neuroscience research says that our brain processes well around 7). I like point 10 the most anyway, but no, please don’t jump on it!

So, let’s go!

1. Design Thinking is a compelling methodology that even leads to spectacular business results. But… its implementation is not simple because if it were simple, everyone would implement it, and everyone would be super-mega-ultra-human-centric. And in reality, there are only a few — which is an opportunity, in fact.

2. As with other methodologies in the New Ways of Working series — Agile — mimicking Design Thinking does not mean doing Design Thinking. Doing Design Thinking means impregnating the project team with the philosophy of this methodology.

3. Design Thinking is not learned in 2 days; in 2 days, you can catch at most the flavour of this methodology. Implementing a real project with real users is the right path for learning.

4. Design Thinking is not implemented in free time. Design Thinking is work, not play — even if it seems like a play.

5. Design Thinking does not begin or end; it is not a project. Even if we initially consider Design Thinking as a project methodology, its application constantly turns into a” way of working” and later into a mentality. When an organization reaches a significant number of followers, it can influence the culture of that organization in the direction of a customer-centric culture.

6. Design Thinking is not a universal panacea and does not fit into all the organization’s problems. In ​​innovation/development it is often complementary to Lean Startup, Agile, Foresighting, Effectuation, Triz. For example, during some stages of DT, the application of some techniques or principles from Lean Startup is extremely welcome.

7. Design Thinking fits both big issues, where I want to change the world with my products and services, and specific issues, where I want to change an internal process, I want to improve the way we interact with the market, or I want to develop / exchange / innovate one’s own product or service, or part of that product/service. I can always start Design Thinking with a pilot project; I don’t have to start with the organization’s most important product/service.

8. The supreme principle in Design Thinking is that the Truth stay with the Client and the Truth is deeply hidden in his emotional brain. Extracting this Truth takes time, consumes energy but is extremely rewarding as the subsequent construction of products/services / processes based on this Truth guarantees success.

9. Organizations spend much time brainstorming and ideating and neglect the other steps. In reality, the most important stages that generate ideas are, in fact, the empathy stage and the prototyping and testing stages because they extract the ideas from the user. The ideation stage is just “downloading ideas” — ideas that have been germinated in the empathy and/or prototyping-testing stages.

10. The only way to do it is to do it. In a world where we are no longer talking about B2B but merely C2C, or more precisely H2H, Humans to Humans, Design Thinking is indeed a compelling technique and can produce spectacular results. With one condition: to be started and implemented correctly.

Off, Blaise Pascal was right; it’s so hard to write in short. But I succeeded!



Mihai Svasta

Supporting teams to make exceptional progress in knowledge