What Is The Most Important Skill Of A Design Thinking Leader?

Design Thinking, a newly popular method these days, solves difficult and chaotic problems. Nowadays, this method is used by leaders and managers in companies to solve many difficult and seemingly unsolvable problems.

Let us understand what is design thinking and "what are the most important skills of a design thinking leader?"

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is based on cognitive processes typically by leaders or managers in an organization. Design Thinking is a process that helps in systematically extracting, identifying, teaching, learning, and applying these techniques to solve problems creatively and innovatively in our business, organizations, and even life.

In other words, Design Thinking is an interactive process that seeks to understand users, challenges, and problems and attempt to solve those problems in a very creative way by thinking of alternative solutions and strategies.

Design Thinking helps in the process and strategy of questioning - questioning assumptions, problems, and implications. Design Thinking revolves around the thought of developing and understanding the people for whom the product has been designed, or services have been planned. Design Thinking is extremely helpful in solving ill-defined or unknown problems by reframing the problems in human-centric ways and thinking of creative solutions to them.

Phases of Design Thinking:

Design Thinking is a linear process generated in a set of steps or phases. Moving through these phases of design thinking with a problem can take you from a blank page to tackle the problem with many creative and innovative human-centric solutions.


Question framing: the first step is to identify a question that inspires and motivates you and your team to find creative solutions.

Step 2:

Inspiration Gathering: In this step, one should be inspired in gathering and giving chances to introduce and put forth inspiration as to what people really want or need.

Step 3:

Ideas: The third Step is about challenging the assumptions and problems by generating creative ideas and innovative solutions and pushing the past solutions to get new and creative ideas.

Step 4:

Prototype: Here, build rough prototypes to learn and understand how to make your ideas better and move towards the best one.

Step 5:

Testing: After creating ideas, you need to test whether the idea will fit the best to nullify the problem through various feedback and testimonial sessions and experimenting and learning.

It is crucial to understand that these five steps or models, or phases do not always need to be sequential. They need not follow any proper order. Basically, it should not be understood as a hierarchical or a step-by-step process to go through these phases.

Ways to Get Started with Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a process, and here are some ways to get started with this process:

1. Gathering Insights of a Problem: The first and very crucial way is by gathering information by interviewing people about the information and problem they are facing and the solutions to them they are expecting exactly what they need and desire to want. This helps you to design your product or service more efficiently and near to perfection.

2. Building Scrappy or Rough Prototypes: Begin with a pen and a paper and then start building a rough prototype for your product according to the information and assumption gathered by you by interviewing people.

3. Turning problems into questions: In this method, try the questioning strategy; what is the problem? What are the assumptions? And finally, what are the best solutions to them? This will help you go from problem to solution and then get the right path to be followed.

Skills of a Design Thinking Leader

A design thinking leader is a person who identifies the problems and the assumptions around them and tries to bring out creative ideas and innovative solutions to unknown and difficult problems.

1. Sees the world in terms of problems and their potential solutions:

A design thinking leader is a visionary who identifies the problem and the assumptions based on it, understands the problem, and solves that problem, unlike others who see the problem and ignore or experience a problem and live with it. He is the person who learns the problem first and tries to solve them through various pieces of information gathering and prototypes built by himself and then design them in a way to solve specific problems.

2. View himself as Information:

A Design thinking view himself as an information or a product means he adopts a designerly approach or attitude or behaviour or outlook towards the problem to test the solutions or the rough prototypes built by him or to experience the problem to arrive at a perfect and best solution to the problem yet creatively and innovatively.

3. Deep Understanding: A design Thinker deeply understands the problem and tries to think for a creative idea, and also understands the process of moving from a problem to the idea by acting like a catalyst for creativity and inspiring the team to work hard. A long-sighted design thinking leader should be like a shepherd or a motivator or conduits to his team to arrive at the best ideas by working on creativity

4. Collaborate and communicate: A good design thinker should collaborate and communicate with his team outside the presentation room or the conference room to keep an informal relationship with the team, which inspires the team to create more and work efficiently in a friendly manner.

5. Prototype vision: Prototypes should be a vision or product or information for a good design thinking leader. A vision helps people solve their problems to help in businesses, to help individuals, to help organizations, and the government solve lengthy and difficult problems by applying those design thinking prototypes and solutions.

Most Important Skill of a Design Thinking Leader

1. Empathetic :

A Design Thinking Leader must empathize with his team, client, and all other stakeholders. Being empathetic and friendly to the team results in better performance of projects giving them a sense of opportunity. Leaders having such qualities can coordinate their team and guide them to find solutions.


A Design Thinking Leader must collaborate with his team, clients and other fellow people relating to the team. Creating a collaborative relationship with the team, clients, and stakeholders leads to long-term business relationships resulting in more creative ideas and innovative solutions to all the problems.


Design Thinking often refers to out of the box thinking as a process or a way of thinking of creative and innovative solutions for difficult problems and is a handy method or a way to arrive at solutions used by big organizations and businesses. The heart of Design Thinking is to improve products by analyzing and understanding the problems and their users and the assumptions around them. To learn design thinking, you can visit Great Learning’ website and refer to different courses offered.