Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a solution-based approach to solving problems, centered on developing empathy for, and a deeper understanding of, the consumer.

An iterative, solution-based approach to solving problems

Design thinking is used industry-wide by companies and universities to solve problems, generate ideas, and accelerate innovation. Using this method, we can approach problems in a more human-centric way and develop a deeper understanding of the people we create and design for.

Design Thinking at AARP

AARP has evolved and developed its design thinking process to create a framework that’s iterative, non-linear, fluid, and fast. Through this process, we can generate stronger ideas, be more hands-on in experimentation and testing, and use failure as a tool to further develop understanding of the consumer.

Design Thinking Phases

Our design thinking method is composed of five phases:


Understand the challenges facing us, from market dynamics to the competitive landscape.


Listen to consumers and immerse ourselves in their experiences via 1:1 interviews, focus groups, and more.


Develop lots of ideas based on insights gathered from consumer immersions, using world-class tools from design thinking leaders across a variety of industries.


Create prototypes to bring ideas to life; anything from scrappy arts & craft projects to clickable PDFs.


Iterate and conduct experiments to test hypotheses, refine ideas re-examine them and test with consumers to stay true to solutions that meet consumer needs.