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5-Step Design Thinking

Successful entrepreneurship starts with design thinking. This problem-solving method is rooted in human-centered design. Feedback plays a critical role in the process, which begins with empathy. Design thinking is a five-step cycle that should be repeated continuously throughout product development.

1. Empathy: Engage in perspective taking to understand your target markets needs by asking questions and gaining ground-level experience.

2. Define: Create a clear definition of the problem that you are trying to solve, based on the needs of your target market.

3. Ideate: Sketch and model ideas for how you can solve the problem. Show, rather than tell. Collaboration and prioritization are key during this stage.

4. Prototype: Build a minimum viable product (MVP). This version of the product should allow you to collect the maximum amount of information about customer preferences with the least effort.

5. Test: Engage in validated learning. Use focus groups and customer feedback to figure out what works and where improvements are needed.

6. Repeat.

Also, check out the Stanford d.school's virtual crash course in design thinking.

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