Stages, more stages and the same stages all over again

The Design Thinking course on September 2nd-3rd 2016 was very illuminating. Doing Design Thinking by following a specific model really shows how much work should be put in design work itself from exploring to implementing. Doing the same thing over and over again with different methods (moodboard, brainwriting etc.) truly opens up new ideas during the process.

We started our service planning from one idea and through all the steps ended up in something different. Continuing the process further and with more time would have, in my opinion, led to another outcome. Doing so much work in such a short time really doesn’t give space for ideas to develop by themselves.

The difference in similarities

During the lessons we learned especially the use of the Evolution 6² model, which has more stages than other models discussed in class and in the paper Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation (Tschimmel 2002). Nevertheless, all the models can be, more or less, divided in three main stages: first you have to learn the problem (through observing, exploring, understanding, defying etc.), then you develop an idea/ideas based on your observations (through experiments, ideating, reflecting, elaborating etc.) and finally you’ll find a solution that can be made available to public (through prototyping, testing, implementing etc.).


Brainwrite instead of brainstormWhy? No need to feel ashamed of saying something idiotic out loud while you can write it on a Post-it anonymously.

Although all models are quite similar – obviously, since they depict the same scenario – they have differences. Some models  emphasize prototyping and testing and include them in earlier stages than others. E6² includes rapid prototyping on the developing stage while Hasso-Plattner Institute’s model brings prototyping in action only in the final delivery stage. The Human-Centered Design model (HCD) also adds a specific aspect on the model, when it includes the financial sustainability as an important part of the outcome.

One of the most important things to notice in Design Thinking process is that it is not necessarily exactly linear. Some models bring this up in a very descriptive way. The Hasso-Plattner Institute’s model (why couldn’t they give it a proper name?) adds iterative loops in the process to show that the different parts might be useful again later in the process. Similarly the Double Diamond model shows a certain movement during the process, but not in an iterative way but in a diverging and converging way.

Why follow one of these models?

A service development process might be executed completely without a clear plan. The process then will not go through different planning stages and might concentrate on one method only while better methods could be used. You might not even know which method works the best before going through them. In our team work in class the best method to showcase our new mobile application was actually a Lego prototype. Who would have thought! Going through the stages during the whole process with open minds can get you to outcomes you couldn’t have imagined during a regular brainstorming and mind mapping session.


Lego prototype for a mobile application. You can choose the “blocks” you want to have in your phone and leave out the ones you don’t need. Instead of creating an app to collect all the services in one platform we could have concentrated on developing the social aspect to really bring a new service to life. Sometimes creativity suffers with a tight schedule.


Finnish and international DT students in Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença’s contact lessons.

Author: Esa Hukkanen, Service Design student at Laurea.


Design Thinking contact lessons by Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença, Laurea Leppävaara, Sep. 2nd-3rd 2016.

Miettinen, Satu (toim.) 2014. Muotoiluajattelu. Teknologiateollisuus ry.

Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an Effective Toolkit for Innovation in Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation from Experience. (


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