Modern Practical tools of Design Thinking

Last weekend I have participated in Design thinking course which motivates me to share my thoughts about my learning in this course and related material.

Design acts as the facilitator for innovation processes but during last decade design thinking(DT) gains great appreciation from research communities but also from all organizational sectors of the world. Many business schools introduce graduate degree programs in DT.

Various models and techniques of DT are available but following caught my eye, to share with fellow design thinkers.

  • The innovation expedition by “Gijs Van Wulfen”
  • Mind shake innovation & design thinking model EVOLUTION 62 by “Katja Tschimmel”

The innovation expedition by Gij Van Wulfen discusses visual toolkit to start innovation. It comprises of five steps naming as (FORTH):

  1. Full steam ahead
  2. Observe & learn
  3. Raise ideas
  4. Test ideas
  5. Home coming


Full steam ahead is based on defining concrete goals, core team creation and kick off workshop which allows team to get acquainted with innovation assignment(IA). The essence of Observe & learn is thinking out of the box. The team explores different technologies & trends, customer feedback meetings are done. Then workshop is organized to define relevant customer friction and promising innovation opportunities. Raise idea is new product brainstorming and concept improvement step. The team develops twelve new concepts for IA. Concept testing is done in Test idea by direct application on target group. The testing is followed live for finding new inspirations and immediate improvement.


Home coming is the final step of FORTH expedition. It ends with three to five new products or service concepts. When the decision is finalized, the concept transfers from ideation team to development team for further advancement.


Mind shake innovation & design thinking model Evolution 62 model by Katja Tschimmel is divided into six phases.

  1. Emergence
  2. Empathy
  3. Experimentation
  4. Elaboration
  5. Exposition
  6. Extension



Emergence is the identification of opportunity by creating Opportunity Mind Map(OMM) which is visual organization of selected information. Based on OMM, brainstorming is done to devise “Intent statement”.





Knowing better the context is Empathy. Stakeholder map (SM) is prepared for visual representation of individual’s project relationship. SM directs towards field observations and interviews from targeted group for deeper understanding. The outcome is convergent thinking tool “insight map”, exhibiting learning from field observations, interviews and user journey maps.



Experimentation is idea generation and testing by tools of “Brainwriting” and “Brainsketching”. Team members generate ideas to direct earlier ideas in new direction. Semantic confrontations are done to select more surprising ideas and transport them to idea hitlist.





Elaboration relates working on material and semantic solutions. Desktop walkthrough (3D_model) is prepared for chosen concept. Role play is used as the validation tool, to empathize with final users. Either “Rapid Prototyping” or “Service Blue Print” is prepared and then a visual business model is created.




Exposition is communicating new concepts and solutions. The Vision Statement tool describes the results in verbal-visual way which enables effective communication to wider audiences, in addition to storytelling methods. It comprises of challenges, solution and illustration of key benefits of proposal.



Final step Extension is comprised of implementation, observing, improving and growing. Once the new concept is approved, strategic techniques (implementation map or Expertise matrix) are utilized for successful implementation. Continuous improvements are done by questionaries’ and feedback maps.


The author Waqas Ali is a SID student and Technical Bid Manager in ABB Oy, interested in Service design developments.

More information:

*Van Wulfen, Gijs 2013. The innovation expedition – a visual toolkit to start innovation. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers.

* E.6MindShake toolkit

*Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience.Barcelona.

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