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 (DT). I want to share them with you all.

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

The fifth stage of a typical Design Thinking process is “Test”: in this phase, the prototypes produced in the previous “Prototype” phase are tested directly with a sample of users of the product/service.

The objective of the test is to verify in the field what problems users can experience the product/service and fine-tune the solution based on the feedbacks obtained by the users themselves. It may also happen that you have to go back to the Ideate stage if, for example, the solution identified proves to fail in tests with users.

I want to remind you that the various stages of Design Thinking, Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test should not be read as sequential steps to take as the project progresses.

Design Thinking is more an iterative and circular process, so it is possible to “go back” to another phase of the process if necessary to validate the assumptions and calibrate the solutions.

The ideal situation would be to run the tests in a context as close as possible to the natural environment in which the users would use the product/service, making them interact with it.

During the tests, take the time to observe the interaction between the user and your prototype: try not to disturb the interaction the user’s interaction. Don’t give too many explanations to users: you risk reducing the spontaneity of the interaction. The more spontaneous and natural the interaction is, the better the quality of the feedback of how the user interacts with the product/service, as well as any possible problems. You’ll get then many useful insights on how to improve the prototype.

An excellent source for further inspiration for this phase is at the following link.

And to represent this phase, I chose a film that is a real milestone in world cinema: The Truman Show of 1998.

A masterful Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a slightly goofy thirty-year-old who doesn’t know he’s the protagonist of a TV show, the “Truman Show”. From the moment of his conception, Truman’s life has always been literally in the spotlight. Nothing of what he experienced is real, but it is all a very accurate staging. A vast television studio houses the set where even day and night are artificial. And also all the people in Truman’s life are actors who somehow manipulate things to make the story continue in the way the production wanted.

Truman begins to suspect something when some curious incidents happen (a light falls from the sky!), and he begins to notice some strange coincidences (people who perform the same actions every day at the same time). These situations create a sense of restlessness in Truman, who seeks reassurance, not finding it, in his family and friends (all actors!) and which translate into the desire to escape to a distant place.

This desire to escape puts in difficulty the production that finds itself having to invent new tricks to keep Truman on the set. Truman’s suspicions soon turn into certainty, and this triggers several escape attempts that culminate in a near-shipwreck, in the human-made sea of ​​the set. Truman does not give up even when the director of the show, the incredible Christof/Ed Harris, tries to convince him to stay. The film ends with a Truman leaving the set, finally free. Waiting for him is the actress that, in love with him, helped him escape.

The scene that I propose to you is linked to one of the critical moments of the film. Truman is already suspicious and wants to leave, move away, and goes to a false travel agency. He tries to book a trip, not succeeding.

This scene seems very fitting to me to talk about testing a product or service in a context that is similar to the typical environment in which they are used!

This is the fifth and final blog of the series. Did you enjoy these posts? Did you like the movies and TV series I chose? Do you have any suggestions on alternative films or TV series?

Let me know!

And here’s the clip:

The “The Truman Show” trademark and related images are the exclusive property of Paramount Pictures

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 2 – Define

Design Thinking – Stage 3 – Ideate

Design Thinking – Stage 4 – Prototype