Design Thinking and Double Diamond Approach

Have you ever used the “design thinking” framework in your L&D strategy? If the answer is no, this article helps you understand design thinking and the four steps of the Double Diamond model to design the right solution.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a problem-solving process that uses techniques and tools to get to the heart of a user’s problem and build a solution to meet their needs.  The goal of every eLearning team is to create content that engages, educates, and teaches the learner effectively. Learning experts should accurately diagnose the learners’ problems with Design thinking instead of creating more content.

Double Diamond model

Now let us see what the Double Diamond model is. The double Diamond model is a popular approach in the Design Thinking framework. You can use this approach to solve the learners’ problems, define learner needs and constraints, generate new ideas with creative thinking, and methods of prototyping the best ideas to kick start learning solutions. 

This model helps you to approach problems and solutions by using 2 different types of thinking:

1. Divergent thinking – Consider everything, approach with an open mind, and think broadly

2. Convergent thinking – Always keeps the focus, Figure out at least one key problem and solution, and thinks narrowly

There are four steps to this Double Diamond approach. They are,

  1. Discovering customer needs and problems
  2. Define key problems
  3. Develop potential solutions
  4. Deliver solutions to customer problems


We deploy divergent thinking in this step. This means we need to approach with an open mind without any constraints and consider everything about our customers. This includes interviewing customers, listening to them, and learning everything you can about them. By understanding customers, we build a sense of empathy.


We deploy convergent thinking in this second phase as we are well aware of what the customers feel and what they do. This means we figure out the key areas and start to converge on specific experiences within the customer journey. As a team, we are empathetic towards our customers and consider the delight in their experiences, but also the pain points. We focus on key problems that require a solution.


We deploy divergent thinking again in this third phase. At this point, we have decided on the problem(s) we need to try and solve. Start brainstorming ideas with an open mind. Generate a variety of colorful, creative, amazing, and innovative ideas. We will consider every idea and try to generate as many ideas as possible.


In this final step, we practice convergent thinking again. We focus on what we can deliver and which solutions will resolve the customers’ needs. Low impact and too complex problems aren’t necessarily a write-off as customers may be willing to pay for.

Once we are done with the above 4 steps of the Double diamond approach, it is time to bring those ideas to life by moving from concept to Prototype.

Final notes

The design thinking process likely seems to end when we have a prototype that meets the needs of our business partners. Incorporating the elements of design thinking into our instructional designing and developing a prototype can help us create training that solves a learner or business problem driving high engagement and improving business results.

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