A Design Thinking Project follows a clear structure and it is always explicit which phase you are in. Each phase finishes with a presentation of the teams. Clear structure helps to reflect on things learned in the preceding phases. Below you find an overview of the different project phases as according to the Design Thinking Model of the University of St. Gallen:

Design Space Exploration

At the very beginning of the project the Design Thinking Teams receive their visionary statement from the corporate partner they are working with. The statements might be formulated like this: “Small City Living”, “Digital Living”, “Self-service experience”. It is typical that the statements are formulated broadly. The team first of all goes on its so called “Design Space Exploration”. That means that the team does research on the topics related to the field of their challenge. That can be done by observing and interviewing people and users in these particular areas and situtations.

Critical Function Prototype

For each of the defined critical functions, which are derived from the detected user needs, the critical funtion prototype captures one question. Therefore each of the question should answer one of the underlying critical function.

Dark Horse Prototype

Before the Dark Horse Prototype can be developed a reframing of the former assumptions needs to be done. After that the team can start developing a dark horse prototype with the characteristics that the team thinks could be persued until the final prototype. The term “Dark Horse” is derived from horse race event, in which most of the betting people would not bet a penny on the “dark horse”, however, in the end that very horse unexpectadly wins the race.

Funky Prototype

The funky prototype is theoretically the first prototype where the team compiles the most promising elements of the former prototypes to one funky prototype. In practice this phase is used as the last “crazy” phase for really uncommon ideas.

Functional Prototype

The functional prototype acts as a preview prototype for the final one and should involve already some key aspects of it.

X-is finished Prototype

One critical function (“x”) of the final prototype is completely finished and is functioning.

Final Prototype

This prototype integrates all success elements of the former prototpyes and presents them in a high resolutive final prototype.

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