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  • Academy of Design Thinking

Design Thinking Application Examples

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Design Thinking is very powerful for companies. As Tim Brown of IDEO puts it: “This approach draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of the people, the possibilities of technology and the requirements for business success.” We’re listing some great Design Thinking Exapmles to clearly demonstrate its power.


IBM has deeply invested in design thinking and the results speek themself. IBM has a large internal design team, and they had a crazy ROI about 301% by just banking on design thinking. 


Nike has struggled to build a prominent brand into the skateboarding community so they decided to engage skateboarders in the design process. They gained a better understanding of the skateboarders needs during the conversations they had. And so, Nike released the Nike Dunk SB line of shoes, and since then they have experienced massive success!

Nike Says “We’re listening to athletes about ways that shoes impact performance, but also hearing about their passion for luxury materials. We’ve merged the two, responding to their day-to-day needs, as well as their style inspiration.”

Bank of America

Bank of America applied Design Thinking as a great waylooking for increasing the use of their savings accounts by their own customers. They started engaging with customers and uncovered that people liked the act of saving more than the actual amount they save. For example, customers would get the same good feeling if they deposited $50 a month compared to $600 at the end of the year. 


Their story is pretty interesting. There was a drop in sales and Starbucks decided to interview hundreds of customers. And this was a smart move based on the human centered approach. So they were able to better understand what their customers are expecting from them and eventually provided them the atmosphere they asked for.


We all know Netflix but little did you know about their human centred approach. How it all started, since in 1997 with the idea of streaming movies directly to the homes of people via the internet. They transformed their Business Model by understanding the needs and expectations of their customers.


Last but not least, Apple. You will see via a short talk with an Apple user that  there is an emotional relation between consumers and Apple products. Why is that, or how did they make it? Apple is one of the leading companies in the field of innovation and this couldn’t have happened without the company adopting design thinking.

Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” — Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs started to apply the design thinking by focusing on people’s needs and desires, rather than only the needs of the business. Building empathy by helping people to love Apple products a lot! The designers and the engineers were focused both on the form and the function of the product. The focus was to build simple yet user-friendly products rather than complex hard-to-use products. Think Different!


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