Collaborate To Innovate

Design Thinking for Innovative Problem Solving (The 9 Step Entrepreneurial Approach)


Imagine if you could make a simple tweak to your problem-solving approach and see an immediate boost in interested colleagues.

What if there were 9 of these tweaks… and each of them could generate more involved colleagues and stakeholders to implement your solution?

Lucky for you, that’s exactly what i’m going to share with you in this post: 9 insanely practical innovative and creative problem solving techniques that you can use to implement new ideas TODAY

And this is what you will learn more about in this post.

How Design Thinking Helps To Foster An Entrepreneurial Mindset In The Workplace

Design Thinking helps organizations become more comfortable with the ‘fail fast – learn fast’ approach needed to mitigate risks in innovation projects. We believe that this approach helps to spot opportunities and that this entrepreneurial attitude is necessary to be agile in dealing with challenges and changes in the world. With this in mind, we developed the Dutch Design Delta Method. You can describe these as:

A creative entrepreneurial approach to create value. One that starts with identifying opportunities to create value for others and ends with impactful sustainable solutions.


Entrepreneurial mindset is the same as entrepreneurial behavior and is as an important component that organizations must have in order to constantly remain of value.

The only constant is that there will always be change in our society. As an organization it is important to be able to respond flexibly and adaptively in order to remain a healthy company. This requires certain qualities that we understand by entrepreneurial behavior.

As a partner who learns others to innovate, our biggest lesson from the past 10 years is this:

“The transformative power of entrepreneurial behavior keeps employees and organizations relevant in the future.”

And trust us, this isn’t about making money or implementing innovations.This is about believing that the future is not predicted, but that it was created!

It means people who are continuously looking for added value for the internal and external customer.



What does entrepreneurial mindset mean?

What we mean by entrepreneurial behavior consists of three steps:

  1. Spotting opportunities in the current situation
  2. Translating these opportunities into value for others
  3. And inspiring and activating others to make a real impact.


The advantage of Design Thinking lies in the aspect that in times of uncertainty and change, people like to cling to structure, something that gives you direction but which also gives enough room for their own interpretation and can deviate according to their own insight. The combination of these two and therefore often different types of people ensures progress in a non-operational process.

By learning as a team how to deliver added value to the internal and external customer, you continuously respond to changes and developments in your environment. Often this means: execution is power, but having the culture to validate quickly, learn fast and adapt rapidly is much more important. We need problem solvers that are seeking for result without losing their empathetic ability. They make a positive impact by creating an inspiring workplace in which cooperation and movement arise. They do this by challenging the current status quo of solving complex problems and showing real results from new and modern ways.


How to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

STUDIO.WHY has developed a method in response to this need that provides direction and develops your own skills in spotting opportunities and possibilities.

This is called the “Dutch Design Delta” method, and it helps teams to create an entrepreneurial workflow with a structure of clearly separable tasks that leads to added value for internal or external customers. It creates an inspiring workplace in which cooperation and movement arise. Its is inspired on Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Sprints and Agile Scrum.

There are tried and true techniques to stimulate entrepreneurial behaviour in your team and organization. You can learn them via our free email course (7 emails). Enroll here.



What are the steps in the design thinking process? (to foster entrepreneurial behavior in the workplace)

The Dutch Design Deltas consist of four large areas (deltas), each of which is subdivided into smaller deltas. In the middle of the four Deltas you see the WHY Delta. Based on the idea (mindsets) of consciously working on innovation processes, we have a number of important elements in this delta, such as:

  • What is our image of the current organization: what are the most important values ​​of the organization? When we look to the future, who do we want to be in it?
  • Starting document: how and what do we want to innovate, where do we see opportunities in the organization?
  • Team: which people do we need to make innovation successful? Who have the character traits of an innovator with us? And which roles within the organization do we need for the organization to succeed?

Do you want more in dept information about setting up an innovation process? Check out our blog: 5 innovation management tools to kickstart innovation successfully 


Then we have 3 large deltas called:

  1. Context design,
  2. Concept design and
  3. Market design


Each with its own focus. In context design, this is examining the entire context among different stakeholders. Subsequently, concept design ideas are conceived and devised. This is processed into a prototype and tested at the end user. Market Design is only discussed when the solution has been tested several times and successfully solves the pain points, after which this solution is only brought to the market. Are you curious about when to use Design Thinking? We have a great blog about that here.


Phase 1: Context Design Delta

Dutch Design Thinking - Context Design


So the first big delta is about exploring the context. This is the core of Design Thinking in which it distinguishes itself from other techniques: first step back and examine the different perspectives in the context, before moving towards a solution. The Context Design Delta is divided into three phases:

  • Understand
  • Explore
  • Define


Step 1 | Understand the challenge: Dive into the challenge.

In the Understand phase you will first delve into what the context is. You examine the current situation, why it is actually a problem and why the organization has not yet been able to solve it. Then you map the stakeholders to discover who is in the context. A specific end user is chosen and possibly in-depth research is carried out. Once all this has been properly visualized, we can go more in-depth. Itamar Madeiros (Director of Design Strateg at SAP) has a great blog about problem framing. check it out for more information!


Step 2 | Explore the context: researching the consumer.

In this phase, intensive research takes place on various fronts. In Design Thinking the end user is central, this will therefore be carefully examined in the context. This is done through empathic research. Other stakeholders in the process are also examined in order to be able to include those perspectives in the follow-up process. In addition, various opportunities are explored by looking at trends and technologies.

This can be done with the Value proposition Canvas for example. This looks like this:

Besides this there are also great tools for data driven user research. Check out Answer the public out for example! They will help you to get instant, raw search insights, direct from the minds of your customers.

Step 3 | Define your focus: creating a new problem statement.


After an intensive research process, a new focus is determined on the basis of relevance and the most surprising results. The power of Design Thinking lies in this important but also difficult phase. You and your team must be able to determine what the problem is really about and, without already knowing a solution, dare to make the choice.

This is how you can turn your insights into new focus questions.



These were the three phases of context design.


Phase 2: Concept Design Delta


The following phases belong to the concept design phase:

  • Imagine
  • Develop
  • Frame


Step 4 | Imagine new ways: coming up with ideas and concepts


After determining the new focus, it is time to let the creativity flow. Different brainstorming techniques are used to come up with many different ideas.

—- Only 8% of all ideas that come up during a brainstorm are useful ideas —-

This is a nice brainstorm technique to come up with cool new and surprising solutions:



Step 5 | Concept: Expanding your concept


After coming up with a lot of ideas, it’s time to choose the best ideas. Using various convergence techniques, you ensure that the best ideas from the brainstorm are collected. These ideas are formed into a concept. Forming a concept also needs multiple iterations to become an inspiring story and be able to convey this to others.

This is how you can create a concept out of your chosen ideas



Step 6 | Frame your product: defining the business model


In the Frame you bring together everything you have found; what problems are you going to solve and how is the concept going to do this?

This is a way to frame your solution:



We learned about this tool from Guido Stompff. He has a great book about Design Thinking. Check out his book here.


Phase 3: Market Design


These were the three phases of concept design. STUDIO.WHY focuses the most on all of the above phases. The third delta can only be implemented when the market is ready for it. Scaling up consists of the following steps:

  • Build
  • Test
  • Learn


Step 7 | Build your prototype: by developing from concept to prototypes


Prototypes are made in order to transfer the concept properly. This can be done in many different ways: with drawings, crafts or Lego. It is important that it can be made quickly in any way and that it can also be quickly adapted again. You will test this prototype again with your end user to see if this has actually taken away the pain. You keep adjusting the prototype until the end user thinks it is good enough to start using it.

There are multiple reasons to prototype. In this overview you see the different ones plus an example of a prototype you can think of.


This one we learned from Guido Stompff as well.

There are lots of great prototype tools. Here is a list for you:


Step 8 | Test your prototype:


You test the prototype extensively with the target group. You do this by first making assumptions and hypotheses and testing them in various experiments.

By making experiments it makes sense to really think about the fidelity. The feedback will be different at a low fidelity, look at this for example:



Last tip for testing a prototype is to avoid the mom test. Don’t know what this means? See this video for a fun explanation.


Step 9 | Improve the prototype


After each test round you will improve the prototype before you start a new test round.

This is where you go back to step 7 or 8. And maybe even to one of the other steps. Why? Because you find out that your customer – problem fit isn’t true of your solution is not the right fit for the problem.


In this way we would like to give you a first impression of how Dutch Design Thinking works. This process is of course very linear. However, in reality innovation is of course not so linear. It often happens that we go back and forth between the deltas in order to achieve the best result. That is why we always speak of a conscious innovation approach. You should not follow the process blindly, but you should consciously act and act on what is happening at that moment in order to take the next step.

Curious about the impact of our approach? We have delivered over 460 learning experiences, see those experiences over here.

Your turn

What would be your order of steps in your next innovation process? Starting with stakeholder insights or building a prototype?

Let us know via a comment below


The advantage of STUDIO.WHY Design Thinking lies in the aspect that in times of uncertainty and change, people like to be able to cling to structure, something that gives you direction but which also gives enough room for your own interpretation and can deviate from own insight.

Exclusive Tips For Creativity, Design Thinking And Innovation For Business That You Can Use To Transform Your Work Environment TODAY