Design thinking

Design thinking

What we do

At Optimation, we think the people in the best position to understand problems and envision better ways of working are the people who know your business best. We use a structured design thinking approach to get your frontline staff, managers and even customers collaborating to define business problems and create potential solutions. Then we do rapid prototyping (as little as a week!) to turn ideas into products and services that are put to the test in the real world. This pragmatic and iterative approach allows the business to refine and improve or to weed out unviable options before it invests in development.

Too often, technology initiatives miss the mark because they don’t address the root cause of business problems. To avoid this pitfall, we resist the temptation to offer predetermined solutions (“you need an app for this”). Instead, we start by helping you get clear about your desired outcome or end goal (“we want our customers to …”). We do this by getting the right people in the room and talking to each other in the same language. Experience tells us this is the key to breaking down silos within the business, challenging preconceptions and avoiding blinkered thinking.

How we deliver

The difference Optimation brings to the design process lies in our unique blend of creative people with eclectic outlooks, deep industry and technology expertise, and a laser-like focus on outcomes. Our goal is to create a minimum viable product at the earliest point possible, so you can move on to testing and refining with staff and customers.

We base our approach on the Google Ventures Sprint model. This is a streamlined but highly scalable step-by-step framework that adapts general design thinking concepts specifically for technology-oriented contexts.


Participants in structured workshops use serious play methods such as building with Lego to help them articulate problems and potential solutions in a concrete way.

Empathise. Using a variety of qualitative research methods, we get people looking at things from their customers’ perspectives. We look to surface extremes or outliers within a customer group, especially those who may already be undertaking in behaviour we want others to emulate.

Define. This involves clearly describing the desired outcome or end goal, and then defining the problem and articulating it as a Vision Statement that everyone agrees on.

Ideate. We unleash participants’ creativity to come up with as many potential solutions as possible. These are then refined down through prioritisation and voting, with a business decision maker in the room.

Prototype. We sketch out and refine what the product or process might look like based on previous interactions and research into customers’ needs. Prototypes can be as simple as a storyboard, a set of wireframes, an HTML mock-up, or even a functioning mobile app.

Test. People interact with the prototype as if it were a live product or process. We assess their experience and gather insights that are used to evolve the design further. Whether the product or process is viable or not becomes very clear at an early stage, avoiding time and money wasted developing impractical or ineffective options.

Customer outcomes

  • Address the real cause of business problems
  • Adopt a ‘fail fast / learn fast’ approach for rapid prototyping
  • Break down silos and foster collaboration at all levels of the business
  • Get everyone, from the frontline to the boardroom, working towards common goals
Ready for better business?