Design thinking is all the rage these days and for good reason. This style of problem-solving has been used to create some of the biggest innovations in recent years, like self-driving cars and music streaming services. It’s a great way to come up with creative solutions to complex problems, but it’s not just limited to big ideas. Design thinking can also be applied to launching new products and services. In this post, we will discuss how you can use design thinking’s goals to crush your new product innovation. Learn the steps you need to take in order to ensure success, from researching customer needs and developing prototypes all the way through testing and launching your product.

For a more in-depth understanding, you may like to read – What is the importance of design thinking?

Design Thinking’s goals for new product innovation

Design Thinking’s goals are to empathize with the customer, understand their needs, and then define the problem. The end goal is to identify a problem that is exactly in line with the end-user or customer’s perspective. 

Another goal is to build a solution that can be scaled to solve the challenges of the customers on a mass level

Some specific outcomes of using DT for innovation management and new product development are as follows:

  • The new product is designed in a way that is truly desirable to consumers
  • It is completely feasible to develop, launch and then scale the product and/or solution to meet the needs of the masses

Your business ends up with a very viable business model for the new product. There’s a clear path on how to make a good profit margin while also solving a solid customer problem.

For more insights, you may like to read – The Advantages of Incorporating Design Thinking.

With this background, below are 7 pointers to crush your new product innovation.

Tip #1 – Empathize with your customers: The foundation of successful new product innovation

role of empathy in new product innovation

One of the key principles of design thinking is empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When it comes to new product innovation, this means getting out of the building and talking to potential customers, observing their behavior, and trying to understand their needs, motivations, and pain points. This helps to ensure that your product is genuinely solving a problem that your customers are facing, rather than just creating something that you think they might want.

For example, let’s say you are developing a new type of home security system. You might start by talking to potential customers and observing how they currently protect their homes. Do they feel safe in their current setup? Are they concerned about specific types of threats, such as burglaries or natural disasters? By gathering this information, you can create a new product innovation that addresses the unique needs and concerns of your target market.

There are several ways to gather customer insights, including:

Interviews: One-on-one conversations with potential customers can be a valuable way to get a deeper understanding of their needs and desires.

Surveys: Surveys can be a quick and efficient way to gather feedback from a large number of people, but it’s important to craft your questions carefully to avoid bias.

User testing: Observing users interacting with a prototype of your product can be a powerful way to gather insights and identify areas for improvement.

Tip #2 – Define the problem: A crucial step in your new product innovation using the design thinking process

Once you have a deep understanding of your customers, the next step is to clearly define the problem you are trying to solve. This means taking a step back from any preconceived solutions and focusing on the root cause of the problem. By defining the problem in human-centered terms, you can ensure that your new product innovation will truly address the needs of your customers.

For example, let’s say you are designing a new type of exercise equipment. Rather than simply creating a new machine with more bells and whistles, you might start by asking yourself what problem you are trying to solve. Are people struggling to find time to work out? Do they find traditional exercise equipment boring or intimidating? By focusing on the root cause of the problem, you can create a product that truly addresses the needs of your customers.

Tip #3 – Generate ideas for your new product innovation: Let your creativity run wild

With a clear understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, the next step is to come up with as many potential solutions as possible. This is where you want to let your creativity run wild and encourage your team to think outside the box. 

Imagine a company that wants to develop a new line of eco-friendly cleaning products for environmentally-conscious consumers. the team could hold a brainstorming session to generate ideas for new products that meet the needs of this target market. This could involve conducting focus groups or surveys to gather information about what types of cleaning products these consumers currently use and what they like or dislike about them. Next, they might consider using natural ingredients, designing packaging that is easily recyclable, or creating products that are versatile and can be used for multiple purposes.

There are several techniques you can use to generate ideas, including:

Brainstorming: Bringing together a diverse group of people and encouraging them to come up with as many ideas as possible can be a powerful way to generate new concepts.

Mind mapping: Creating a visual representation of your ideas can help to spark new connections and uncover hidden connections.

SCAMPER: This technique involves looking at a product or service and asking a series of questions to stimulate new ideas. For example: “Can we substitute something else for it? Can we adapt it in some way? Can we modify or magnify it?”

Tip #4 – Prototype and test: Turning ideas into tangible solutions 

With a list of potential solutions in hand, the next step is to start turning these ideas into tangible prototypes that you can test with real users. This is where the iterative nature of design thinking comes into play – you will likely need to go through several rounds of prototyping and testing before you arrive at a final product.

Prototyping can take many forms, from rough sketches on a whiteboard to fully functional models. The key is to create a prototype that is functional enough to test with real users, but not so polished that it’s difficult to make changes.

For example, if you are developing a new type of smart home device, you might start by creating a physical prototype using cardboard or foam core. This will allow you to test the basic form and function of the device, and gather feedback from users on what works and what doesn’t.

Tip #5 – Iterate and refine: Embrace an iterative approach for innovation management and new product development

As you test your prototypes with real users, you will inevitably uncover areas for improvement. This is where the design thinking process really shines – by embracing an iterative approach, you can continually refine and improve your new product innovation until it meets the needs of your customers.

user feedback innovation management new product development

Iteration involves going back to the drawing board and making changes based on the feedback you have received. This might involve making changes to the design of your product, or exploring new ideas that you hadn’t considered before. The key is to stay open-minded and flexible and to be willing to pivot if necessary.

Tip #6 – Focus on user experience in your new product innovation: Design for usability, convenience, and delight 

Throughout the design thinking process, it’s important to keep the end-user experience at the forefront of your mind. This means designing for usability, convenience, and delight, and constantly seeking feedback from your customers to ensure that you are meeting their needs.

To create a great user experience, you’ll need to consider all aspects of the product, from the aesthetics to the functionality. This might involve designing for ease of use, incorporating intuitive navigation, or adding features that add value to the user’s life.

For example, if you are developing a new type of kitchen appliance, you might consider factors such as the size and shape of the device, the materials it is made from, and the ease of use for different age groups. By focusing on the user experience, you can create a product that not only meets the functional needs of your customers, but also delights and exceeds their expectations.

Tip #7 – Collaborate and co-create: Embrace a team approach for innovation management and new product development

Design thinking is all about collaboration, so be sure to involve your team and other stakeholders in the process. This can help to ensure that you are considering a wide range of perspectives and can also lead to more creative and innovative solutions.

For example, if you are developing a new type of medical device, you might bring together a team that includes engineers, designers, doctors, and nurses. By working together and leveraging the expertise of each team member, you can create a product that is not only innovative, but also meets the specific needs of your target market.

In addition to collaborating with your own team, you might also consider reaching out to external partners or even co-creating with your customers. This can help to ensure that your new product innovation is grounded in real-world needs and is more likely to succeed in the market.


Product innovation using design thinking’s goals can be a powerful way to bring your new product idea to life. By leveraging the key principles of design thinking, you can create an innovative concept that meets customer needs and stands out from the competition. With careful planning, research, user testing and experimentation, it is possible to create something truly remarkable. So why not give it a try? Put these tips into action and start developing your revolutionary new product innovation today!

By following these tips and incorporating the goals of design thinking into your new product innovation efforts, you can increase your chances of creating a product that truly resonates with your customers. Whether you are developing a new technology, a new service, or a new product, the principles of design thinking can help you to create solutions that are both innovative and practical.

About the author

A Haryanvi by origin, an entrepreneur at heart and a consultant by choice, that’s how Ajay likes to introduce himself! Ajay is the Founding Partner at Humane Design and Innovation Consulting (HDI). Before starting HDI, Ajay founded the Design Thinking and Innovation practice at KPMG India. His 16+ years of professional career spans across various roles in product and service design, conducting strategy workshops, storytelling and enabling an innovation culture. He has coached 50+ organizations and 2000+ professionals in institutionalizing design and innovation practices. He loves to blog and speak on topics related to Design Thinking, Innovation, Creativity, Storytelling, Customer Experience and Entrepreneurship. Ajay is passionate about learning, writing poems and visualizing future trends!

We at Humane Design strongly believe in the human ethos and draw inspiration from humans and other elements of nature to design innovative solutions for organizations of all sizes. We will be glad to be your success partner. Email us your requirements at

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