Applied Design Thinking In Website Development

November 2, 2020 by David Hauser

Hello fellow innovators and different THNKers. We are rapidly approaching the 6-month anniversary of our THNK.innovation website.

As the design thinkers that we are, we never did look at the website to be something that is done right once and then will be left on its own. But we were looking at it as a growing product that is going to evolve with our increasing understanding of customer needs.

An experience that we would hardly be able to gather without putting this unfinished first prototype out there to learn from. (Actually, the website that we realised in May wasn’t exactly the first THNK.innovation website…but we won’t talk about this ever again)

When I started THNK.innovation journey, I did have an idea about the business that I wanted to build and the services that I wanted to offer. What I didn’t have was much of an idea about the market that I’m going to enter into or the pain points of my desired customers. Or maybe even who exactly these chosen customers are going to be.

What I did know was that my experience as a design engineer in solving wicked, multilayered problems is valuable. As well as that the powerful strategies and tools that I’ve learned to use solving these problems can be applied to other areas but the general engineering disciplines, too.

In the early stages of any new adventure that one is embarking on, there is a lot of learning happening. And this wasn’t much different for me either. I’ve learned a lot.


    • I did gather a better understanding of the things that I did already know and how they can fit into the bigger picture.
    • I did learn things that I was aware of that I didn’t know them
    • I did learn things that I didn’t know of not knowing them


With that, many of not knowing it would have been easy for me to give myself permission to be scared at that time. Use all the things that I still had to learn as an excuse to procrastinate, not building a website and not going life.


But I did it anyway!


This is going to be the start of a series of blog posts, in which I will share with you the evolution not just of my website but also of THNK.innovation, as well as the story of my personal development as a first-time founder. I’m also going to explain how my experience from being an engineer and designer helped me to make better decisions throughout the process.


Ready? Great, let’s get started!


In January 2020, I made my mind up that I will finally dedicate all of my energy into building my dream of THNK.innovation. An agency to coach and facilitate practical innovation.

I decided to build my methodology around the design thinking framework that was developed over 60 years ago by engineers and architects and to refine it with some modern tools and strategies that turned out extremely useful throughout my own engineering career.

My targeted clients are start-ups, teams in corporates and organisations as well as individuals that are thriving for making better decisions and creating products, services and systems that are exceeding the expectations of their users.

With such an understanding of the business of THNK.innovation in mind, I felt comfortable to go public with my services via social media activities but also my own website.

With future growth, added functionality and flexibility to change developers in mind I opted straight away to leave the general drag ‘n drop website builders behind and specified that the site to be built in WordPress.

I went shopping for a website development in WordPress with


    1. A frontpage that summarises the business and its services
    2. An “About Us” page
    3. Three service pages to detail my offerings
    4. A download section fro freebies
    5. A blog
    6. Terms&Conditions and Privacy Policy pages


Ten pages overall. Straight forward, right?

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. But I could not have been further off. In the past, I’ve made some less pleasant experiences using freelancing websites for more complex tasks like this one.

That together with the many connections in the start-up community that I’ve accumulated over the years, I decided to stick to my established network and only ask people and agencies that I did know personally based on previous collaborations or referrals by friends.

So I went out and asked them for their initial quotes for my website development.

What would you guess was the range of quotes that I did get for the site with the above requirements? How much more expensive was the dearest one compared to the lowest offer?


    • 2-times?
    • 3-times?
    • 5-times?


The most expensive one was actually was twelve times as expensive as the most affordable one.

Even taking into the price difference of onshoring and offshoring into account, something could not have been right. Someone calculated at least 5-times the hours for the same job. Or at least for what I thought would be the same job.

I understood that making a decision based on these first quotes was not healthy. I had to go back to each of the vendors, ask questions, refine my requirements and make sure that they understood them and that I understood what it was that they intended to deliver.


I had to make sure that we all understood what “The Job to be done” was!


To be continued


Do you want to know how I resolved this wicked problem applying the design thinking methodology and the “Jobs to be done” framework?

Then subscribe to our newsletter now and don’t miss any of the other parts of this blog series about applied design thinking and continuous improvement.


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