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A single product can’t solve every problem, and a single team can’t develop every possible solution to a given problem. Design methodologies help teams focus and commit.

The double diamond is a broadly applicable process model for a cross-functional, iterative design or innovation process. This methodology was formalized by the British Design Council in 2005 through an in-depth study of 11 global brands, including LEGO, Microsoft, Sony, and Starbucks.

Take a look at the diagram to the right. The two-diamond structure of the diagram illustrates two modes of thinking that occur during the strategy and execution stages of the design process. Divergent thinking explores many possible solutions and generates novel ideas. Convergent thinking analyzes, filters, and focuses ideas and leads to decisions.

This model promotes creativity and innovation while making it clear when decisions should be made and when teams should commit to a direction. A well-executed double diamond process ensures that product requirements and subsequent design work are focused on user needs.

The four phases of the double diamond process are as follows:

  1. Discover (divergent strategy): Explore the problem and landscape, and learn from users and the market through user interviews, surveys, and other research.
  2. Define (convergent strategy): Sort and analyze the information gathered during the discovery stage and hone in on the problem we’re trying to solve.
  3. Develop (divergent execution): Generate a range of ideas for possible solutions through brainstorms, workshops, low fidelity prototypes, and other ideation methods. Test different ideas with users or within the company to see what resonates.
  4. Deliver (convergent execution): Hone in on, develop, and deliver the solution. Continue evaluating and testing the developed design to ensure it meets user needs.

Instructions

Think about answers to the following questions to check your understanding of the double diamond model.

What are the four stages of the double diamond model?

Check Answer
  1. Discover
  2. Define
  3. Develop
  4. Deliver

What are the two types of thinking emphasized by the double diamond model?

Check Answer
  • Divergent thinking: exploring many possible solutions
  • Convergent thinking: analyzing, filtering, and focusing ideas

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