All I Know Is I Know Nothing

The Design Thinking method is gaining popularity among companies, entrepreneurs, managers, and universities as a leading way to find better solutions, discover new opportunities and produce the innovations required by the real world of today.

During the two-days workshop led by Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença at the Laurea University’s Service Innovation and Design course, a set of different Techniques and Tools were presented as possibilities to be implemented when using the Design Thinking approach. For the practical exercise, we followed part of the Mindshake Design Thinking Model Evolution 62, developed by Tschimmel between 2012 and 2015.



Even tough the Techniques and Tools may vary and differ from each other, they all share the same core and objective, being an integrative approach with some steps (or spaces) through which a project will cycle several times as a result of a fast and iterative process.

In the article Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation, Katja Tschimmel describes in detail each different Technique and Tool that we can apply in the process, but in the following lines, I mention the ten most used tools classified in relation to the step where each one is applied.

Step: observing, getting empathy and clarifying the project task

  • Observation and register on place
  • Mind Maps and other kinds of Information Maps
  • Personas and Empathy Map


Step: Idea generation and Experimentation

  • Brain Writing and Brain Sketching
  • Sketching
  • Visual and Semantic Confrontations


Step: Elaboration and Development

  • Storyboard
  • Rapid Prototyping


Step: Communicating and Delivering

  • Storytelling
  • Learning experiences/Test



My Key Take-Away

After reading books and attending some workshops and lectures about Design Thinking, it became evident to me that, to become a successful Design Thinker, besides learning about the processes, techniques, and all the tools involved, you must keep yourself curious about everything and ask tons of “whys?”.

By challenging the status quo, you become more flexible in your problem solving and might even find some inspiration for new products and services along the way. When going through a Design Thinking process, keep your mind open and always ask yourself whether a current solution to a problem is the perfect one.

A wise guy once said: “All I know is I know nothing”. He would be a great Design Thinker. Allow yourself to be surprised by the unexpected and you might find innovation right around the corner.



1. “Change by design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation.” Tim Brown

2. “Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation.”, Katja Tschimmel


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