GES Workshop: Design Thinking for Entrepreneurs

HP LIFE teamed up with the Stanford University Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( for a two-hour master class on “Design Thinking for Entrepreneurs” at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on June 22, 2016.

The workshop led participants through the Design Thinking process and the design focus was on how improve the new parenting experience. New parents were invited to the workshop as users so the ‘designers’ could get to know their customers and their needs.

We wanted to share the Stanford Design Thinking process and design tools you can use for your own work. You may also enjoy seeing some of the creative prototypes the participants generated during this fast-paced workshop.

The Design Thinking Process

The teaches the Design Thinking process as five phases that allow you to experience what it’s like to design an innovative product or service.

1. Empathize

Gain insight into your user’s world and uncover hidden needs.

This was done by interviewing our user and asking for their new parenting stories. What's the most surprising thing about being a new parent? What's one piece of advice you'd give to a new parent? By deeply understanding people, you are better able to design for them.

2. Define

Realize new insights about your user needs and focus on one challenge.

This was done by defining a user story - telling who the user is, their need and your insight.

3. Ideate

Reframe the user problem and imagine wild ideas.

The groups brainstormed to create new parenting product or service ideas. This leveraged the collective thinking of the group and allowed building on each other’s ideas.

Imagine a product or service for…

Meghan, a 33 year-old exhausted new mom of a 4-month old to feel confident in her parenting practices. She fears judgement when she takes her child outside their home.

Rules for brainstorming

  1. Turn off your inner critic
  2. Build on the ideas of others
  3. One conversation at a time
  4. Be visual
  5. Go for quantity

4. Prototype

Build tangible models and create experiences.

This is an important step, as it helped the teams explain their concept in a physical way so it is more than just an idea when you test the concept with real customers. For this workshop, participants were asked to select one of their most “crazy” ideas and prototype it – for your business, you’ll want to develop a more appropriate set of criteria that you’ll use to sift through all the ideas and focus on the best ones. Prototyping was done with paper, tape, felt and other simple materials.

5. Test

Test prototype solutions with the customer and gain feedback to improve.

This step allows designers to test prototypes by allowing users to experience and react to the prototype. This gives the designers an opportunity to examine the solutions decisions and gain more feedback to improve.

Additional Resources from the Stanford

Workshop Prototype Results

As we mentioned, for this workshop the participants were presented the challenge to “improve the new parenting experience.” Some of the creative ideas that emerged are highlighted below.

Baby Bit

Like a Fitbit, Baby Bit provides intelligent baby pacifiers and bottles that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to interpret a baby’s cries and needs; the information is sent to the Baby Bit smartphone app to support every stage of baby’s development. “The Future of Child Rearing! (batteries sold separately)”

The Mommy Minute

Who doesn’t feel overwhelmed as a new parent? Lack of sleep and isolation can be a real challenge. Affirmation and treats can go a long way to encourage new moms – and Mommy Minute provides a kit of special treats just for Mom…


Get a second husband.

One mother expressed the frustration of two working parents being SO busy, the chores are overwhelming. What if you could order extra help on demand? Modeled on the disruption from ride sharing services like Uber, “Huber” would bring you help just when you need it…

Another idea that emerged was providing services on trains during commute or travel for new parents.

  1. Beauty and relaxing services – pedicure, manicure, hair styling, comfortable chairs and pillows
  2. A gathering place where new parents could socialize

We hope you are able to incorporate design thinking into your ideation and rapid prototyping work.