The five stages of Design Thinking, according to, are as follows: Empathise, Define (the problem), Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

During my workshops I often use clips from movies or TV series to explain the different concepts related to the steps of the Design Thinking process. I want to share them with you all.

If you are acquainted with DT, I hope you can relate to the clips I propose. If you are a Design Thinking neophyte, I hope these clips can help you get a better grasp of the process.

The second stage of a typical Design Thinking process is “Define.” In this phase we summarise the information gathered in the previous observation stage (called “Empathise“) to define the problem that we want to solve in a more detailed and feasible manner.

From the generic problem that has been placed as the starting point of the Design Thinking process, we go to a specific problem that is then summarised in what is called the “Problem Statement” which serves as a starting point and inspiration for the next generation phase. of ideas to solve it.

And for me there is a scene that well represents the spirit of this phase, and is taken from the movie “Hidden Figures” translated into Italian with the title “Il diritto di contare.”

This film tells the story of three African-American women who in a 1960s  segregated America make their way into NASA and are rewarded for their mathematical and engineering skills but at the same time penalised for being women and African-Americans!

The scene I am referring to sees as protagonist one of the three heroines, Katherine Goble Johnson, engaged as mathematician in the team busy with calculating the trajectories for the Mercury mission, which will send the first American into orbit.

In a room full of NASA’s big guys, the final details about the mission are decided. The most important question that needs to be answered is: Are we sure that upon return we will be able to land the capsule at the right place? The accuracy of the landing point is important to reduce any risk to the astronaut’s life and to be able to recover the capsule easily.

Katherine’s boss asks her to calculate this landing point. Katherine develops the necessary equations over a few minutes and produces the desired result. The capsule will land at a specific point off the Bahamas that Katherine points out on a map.

For me this scene represents the Design Thinking Define’s step well because in this phase the specific problem to be worked on is identified. The “landing point” of the Design Thinking process determined at the beginning, becomes more and more precise.

What do you think?

And here is a clip from the movie:


The trademarks “Hidden Figures ” and “Il diritto di contare” , and the images are the exclusive property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Do you want to know more?

This post belongs to the series: “what if it’s a movie? Design Thinking explained with TV series and movies”

Design Thinking – Stage 1 – Empathise

Design Thinking – Stage 3 – Ideate

Design Thinking – Stage 4 – Prototype

Design Thinking – Stage 5 – Test