Part 3 – Implementation phase and building it into your culture

The third in a 3-part series that’s a crash course in Design Thinking that will teach you all the important parts of this methodology that I learned while becoming an IDEO certified Design Thinking Trainer. In this episode, we will look at implementation which is the final phase of Design Thinking where you bring the insights from the inspiration phase and the concepts from the ideation phase to life into prototyping, testing and final delivery. Then we will look at some of the ways you can bring Design Thinking in your culture including how you can bring this thinking to your company, how your team members should act and how you can change your culture.

Listen now:

Show Notes:

Implementation will be made up of four parts – prototype, test, refine and deliver. Implementation is the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives.


– Prototypes are the first step to a tangible product
– A prototype is anything that takes you forward fast
– You prototype to learn, fail fast and fix it fast.
– A prototype may look nothing like the final product. They can be small or large in size and scale.

4 Stages of prototyping
– Design research: BUILD TO THINK Understand boundaries, patterns and pain points.
– Rapid prototyping: BUILD TO LEARN Testing your initial hypothesis.
– Live prototyping: BUILD TO COMMUNICATE Examine product market fit.
– Live pilot: BUILD TO LAUNCH Validate to scale.


– The next step is experimenting with this idea in a real context.
– Tests help you take small, quick steps towards learning an idea’s potential.
– They help us answer specific questions in order to meaningfully evolve ideas.
– What assumptions have you made that could make or break your idea?
– What are the assumptions  you’ve made about user behavior?
– What are the assumptions you’ve made about a technology?

Experiments should be:
– Low Risk: Conducted with a safe audience, at a minimal cost (guideline: under $100).
– Quick & Easy: Easy to build, easy to run (guideline: under 1 hour to set up and run).
– Evolutionary: On target to help you learn and grow the idea.


– Make sure you ship your project in no more than 8 months


– Your biggest Challenge will be  overcoming the word ‘design’ in the title but it gives you the power to bring creativity to any team, company or client.

How can you bring design thinking to your company?
Some of the key opportunities and questions you should be thinking about as you take this back to our work.

– How do you and your teams get inspired?
– If inspiration is the fuel for innovation, are you actively seeking it on a regular basis or running on empty?
– Is inspiration designed into your work lives or are you waiting passively for an apple to fall on your head?
– What else might you do with your colleagues in the next month?

– Do you spend enough time in context with the specific people your noble work aims to help and enable?
– How do you effectively feed your customer knowledge back into your organization?
– Are you telling good stories?
– What might you do to continually stoke your empathy?

– How might you deliberately & clearly separate idea generation from idea evaluation?
– Can you think of a particular challenge for which generating  50-100 new options might get you unstuck and be worth an hour together on Monday?

– Are your teams prototyping early and often enough?
– Do you build prototypes to explore fledgling ideas as they’re taking shape, or only to communicate formed ideas to others?
– Is failure embraced and built upon?
– What might you quickly prototype to probe a question in a current project of yours?

– Are you checking in with sponsors early and often?
– Is your team trying to do it alone?
– Who are your key innovation partners and do you compliment, push and inspire each other?

How should your team act?
– Keep users at the center.
– Build to think.
– Invite diverse perspectives to the table.
– Stay curious.
– Iterate quickly and frequently.

How can you change your culture?
– The tools you use
– The space you occupy
– The norms you establish

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