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Haven't you embraced Design Thinking into your HR strategy yet?


There are a lot of strategies to manage company’s HR but without a doubt, the best one is the one that focuses on the team. We could say this is the main concept of Design Thinking for HR. To understand the need of using Design Thinking (DT) in HR strategy, first we need to know what it is.

According to Tim Brown, current CEO of IDEO (a pioneer company in using this methodology), Design Thinking is “a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”

In other words, DT is a methodology which takes advantage of companies’ existing tools. It aligns them with its strategy resulting in added value to the service/product perceived by the client.

So far we have explained DT from a conception point of view which was primarily applied to R&D and Marketing. But, being an Innovation generator, it can be applied to any field, including Human Resources! What do we mean when we talk about Design Thinking in the field of HR?

Very simply, we just substitute the final client for the internal client, also known as employee. It consists of questioning worker’s experience, focusing on the analysis and development of strategies to help improve it. It’s about diminishing and minimizing the negative impacts such as stress, and increase the positive ones, such as productivity.

In sum, applying DT to human capital makes HR part of a company’s marketing strategy.

The main features of the “Human Design Thinking” are:  to create innovation based on employees’ needs; to humanize the employer concept; to design HR programs related to organizational climate and culture and, to create a bond between headquarters and employees.

Design Thinking is a tool and as such, it comes with instructions for use. It consists of 5 stages, which can go back and forward at any moment. 


The process starts by deeply understanding employees’ needs and its surroundings. In other words, here we put ourselves in the workers’ shoes to generate coherent solutions to their reality.


Here the previous information is screened and we only select the one which brings value and new point of view for the company. Defining is about identifying possible problems and solutions.


The third stage has no end! Ideate means to generate as many ideas as possible. For that purpose, it is necessary to set aside any value judgment and validate any idea, however eccentric it may seem.


Prototype consists of making ideas come true! Building prototype allows us to notice the possible solutions and other alternatives that can help to reach the best solutions for the final results. This way we are adding value and getting closer and closer to the optimal solution for the employees.   

Last but not least, we come to the Test stage. Throughout this phase the prototypes previously designed with the users involved will be put into operation. It is a very important stage since it is where we evaluate if there are any errors to correct or improvements to be made.  It means that during this phase we will develop an idea until it becomes the exact solution we were looking for!


With Design Thinking it is possible to find a solution that always meets the initial objectives of the process. Also, very often, this solution ends up exceeding all expectations and an optimal solution is achieved! Indeed, what is better than applying it to HR and end up with a team working for the same purpose in the best conditions?

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