Empathy to Execution: A Practical Journey through Design Thinking Stages

Empathy to Execution: A Practical Journey through Design Thinking Stages-feature image
May 31, 2024 6 Min read

As a part of the project, we have been researching and working on Design Thinking for quite some time. But after a while, it started to feel a bit tiring and monotonous, and we didn’t want to bore our readers with the same old examples that everyone talks about.

So, to make things more interesting, we decided to show our readers how Design Thinking actually works in real life through different stages.  

Then what?  

Without wasting any time, we asked our product team to help us with the same. They agreed to our request and demonstrated how Design Thinking works in a real-life situation.

For that, they organized a meeting where everyone on the team came together to brainstorm, argue, and come up with creative solutions. The entire process was exciting and led to the desired outcome with some insightful results. 

Let’s try to breakdown stages of ‘Design Thinking’ with the help of a real-life case study we performed internally in our organization. 

Scenario: Product team of a Software marketplace wants to achieve the Goal ‘Sell Software Online’ 

Design Thinking Meeting

Part of the Meeting– Product Lead, Sr PM, Internal sales representative (the one who had customer insights from speaking with multiple potential customers) 

Case Study: With a common vision of redefining the online software buying experience for users, our team decided to work on a challenge.  

Their goal? To modify the transaction pages, infusing them with the right information in a way that captivates and guides every visitor.

We leveraged the power of Design Thinking to transform this challenge into opportunity with a blend of innovation and creativity.  

Take a look at how we incorporate design thinking to improve our transaction pages.   

Stage 1: Empathize with Users

Design Thinking Empathise Stage

Our team embarked on a thrilling new challenge to supercharge traffic on our transaction pages. Let’s get the inside scoop on how we did it by leveraging the power of design thinking.  

Let’s start! 

With a whiteboard in hand and a mission to revolutionize online shopping experience for buying software, we were ready to walk in our customers’ shoes to uncover their true needs.  

“Let’s dive into our first phase—empathize,” our Product lead began. He added, “We truly need to understand our customers. What have we learned so far?  

Our Senior Product Manager, eager to lead the charge, shared some intriguing insights into our customers’ buying behavior. 

“Here’s what we’ve discovered,” he began, “Our customers are looking for more than just a credible and secure platform. They’re seeking additional benefits beyond what Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) offer.” 

“Our customers often feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of product choices. They’re not just looking for products—they’re looking for guidance.” 

The team was quite intrigued by these revelations.  

But this was not all! 

What else did we get?   

“Our customers demand not only the right price but also robust post-purchase support.” 

These insights truly became the stepping stones for us to define the core problem and drive innovation. 

Our Final Empathize Wall  Key Takeaways  
“No value addition of a platform vs OEM” 

“Software at the right price+ support”  

“Trust issues”   

“Which plan is best for me?”  

“Which product should I buy?”  

“Is it a even trustable platform?” 
Where were we going wrong?

Initially, we were going in the wrong direction. This is because instead of focusing on ‘what customers want’. We focused on ‘their pain-points’.
  1. Keep your assumptions aside!
  2. Think from the customers’ perspective.
  3. Take ample time to work on this stage as it is the most crucial phase of Design Thinking as it forms the base for the next phases.


With a blend of curiosity and determination, we stepped into stage 2 to get to the core of the problem. 

Keep reading to find out how we did it! 

Stage 2: Define the Problem Statement 

After an invigorating discussion during the ‘Empathize’ stage, our team advanced to the ‘Define’ phase. By leveraging the insights, we gathered in stage 1, we were able to pinpoint the key paramount problems faced by our customers.  

Our team lead started holding the marker, “Okay team, let’s highlight the major challenges we’ve discovered.” 

Our Product Manager started, “Vague Requirements is the biggest issue. He added, our users have trouble to clearly define their needs and requirements.” 


Another member pointed out that, “We also have complicated features. The software’s features and modules are quite complex to understand.” 

Our Senior Product Manager while writing on the board highlighted one more issue, he added, “Users are hesitant to trust our platform due to lack of social validation, low brand recognition, and no credibility checks.” 

Last but not least, they also find out that customers want competitive pricing and fast customers’ service.  

After that, our Product Lead, concluded the session on stage 2 and added, “Great, we’ve clearly articulated our four key problems.” 

Let’s look at the core problems that our team will work up in the “Ideate” stage. 

  • Users find it difficult to articulate their needs and requirements properly. 
  • The software features and modules are complicated to understand and not clearly written. 
  • Users are not able to trust the platform due to the absence of social validation, low brand recognition, and no visible credibility verification. 
  • Customers are not getting competitive pricing and quick customer service.
Our Final ‘Define’ Wall  Key Takeaways  
“Users find it difficult to address their needs and requirements.”

“Software modules are complicated to understand.”  

“Customers want the best price and quickest customer service.”  

“Customers are not able to trust our website.” 
Where were we going wrong?  

We didn’t define the problems clearly, instead we wrote only vague points. This made it difficult to understand what the core problems were.  
  1. Clearly define the problem statement (easy to understand)
  2. Analyze your customer insights properly to define the problems.

The first two stages of design thinking are very crucial and hence it takes a good amount of time to work on it. Therefore, to simplify it for our readers, we have broken down the stages into bits and pieces. For next 3 stages, you can wait for our next release !!

Next Read: How Airbnb & Nike Used Design Thinking Frameworks

Retro Read: Design Thinking

Retro Read: Design Thinking: More than a Strategy! It’s a Mindset…

Written by Varsha

Varsha is an experienced content writer at Techjockey. She has been writing since 2021 and has covered several industries in her writing like fashion, technology, automobile, interior design, etc. Over the span of 1 year, she has written 100+ blogs focusing on security, finance, accounts, inventory, human resources,... Read more

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