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Why a beginners mindset?

Now that I have introduced the design thinking model, I will briefly show how each phase in the process links, and why? Then, I will share the beginners mindset method to show how you can start the process.   


During empathy the goal is to find the needs of your customer. This can be done by observing and engaging with prospective customers. Later, when I discuss each phase in more detail, I will name a couple of useful tools for how to go about doing this (which will be available on Napstart’s website soon). This phase is recognised by divergent thinking. Meaning that the more information you can obtain the better.


Next, using convergent thinking, the information that was obtained must now converge. This will allow you to develop an actionable problem statement.


So, having a problem statement means you can now start to generate ideas. How can you solve this problem? Or, what can you think of that can bring your customer some relieve? This phase again is dominated by divergent thinking. The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible.


Next, ideas must be grouped (convergent thinking) and briefly evaluated for actionability. To visualise possible solutions can help with this. Now, build or develop a model to visualise your solution. A prototype does not necessarily have to be an object in physical form. It can very well be a diagram, or a map, to show how you intent to bring relieve to your prospective customer.


Taking the solution back to your prospective customers to test, can provide valuable insights. Their feedback will provide the insights needed for you to go forth, to slightly adapt, or to discard the idea.

So, how can Napstart help:

As Napstart apply a coaching framework to guide clients through these processes, knowledge is transferred. This means that, not only do you gain valuable knowledge about potential customers, you also become more familiar with the process to acquire it.           

To conclude, before venturing into each phase in more depth, I want to share the beginners mindset method. Although very simplistic, it will help you to be curious and to ask many questions. Allowing your mind to be open to endless possibilities.

A beginners mindset:


We all carry our experiences, understanding and expertise with us.  These aspects of you are incredibly valuable assets to bring to the design challenge – but at the right time and with intentionality. Your assumptions may be misconceptions and stereotypes, and can restrict the amount of real empathy you can build. Therefore, assume a beginner’s mindset in order to put aside these biases, so that you can approach a design challenge afresh.


Don’t judge.  Just observe and engage users without the influence of value judgments upon their actions, circumstances, decisions, or “issues”.

Question everything.  Question even the things you think you already understand.  Ask questions to learn about how the user perceives the world.  Think about how a 4-year old asks “Why?” about everything.  Follow up an answer to one “why” with a second “why”.

Be truly curious.  Strive to assume a posture of wonder and curiosity, especially in circumstances that seem either familiar or uncomfortable.

Find patterns.  Look for interesting threads and themes that emerge across interactions with users.

Really listen. Lose your agenda and let the scene soak into your psyche.  Absorb what users say to you, and how they say it, without thinking about the next thing you’re going to say.