Chicago Booth School of Business | Groups

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

— Tim Brown, IDEO president and CEO


Human-centered design is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process. Human involvement typically takes place in observing the problem within context, brainstorming, conceptualizing, developing, and implementing the solution.

Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving utilizing the five-phase approach,

  • Empathize - how do I understand it?
  • Define - how do I interpret it?
  • Ideate - how do I create?
  • Prototype - how do I build it?
  • Test - how do I improve it?

... BUT, more importantly, Design Thinking is a non-linear, iterative approach where phases can be repeated or completed out of order