Design Thinking for Start-Ups: 6 Takeaways

February 8th, 2023

Creative Santa Fe strategists John Ravitch and Gray Garmon gave a rousing, hands-on introduction to design thinking and its applications at UNM Rainforest Innovations in Albuquerque last Friday, to a full house. Here are 6 key takeaways from the workshop.

  1. You don’t need to be a designer to employ human-centered design (HCD). HCD simply means putting real people at the center of the development process for a product or service, enabling you to better serve your customers’ needs and ultimately improve their lives.
  2. The five mindsets of design thinking are collaboration, empathy, synthesis, testing/prototyping, and storytelling; they can be employed in parallel and across every aspect of business / organizational development.
  3. The most important action you can take when starting a business or looking to meet a need in your community is to LISTEN; prioritize good questions over “right” answers.
  4. Successful entrepreneurs focus on experiences, not things; verbs not nouns. For instance, a chair maker is redesigning the way we sit, rest, and convene.
  5. Launch to learn – once you launch your business or product, that’s when the real learning begins.
  6. Getting into the design thinking mindset, and harnessing its tactics, can be a gradual process – and it’s not rocket science!

Additional resources around design thinking can be found here: