3 Successful Startup Companies That Use Design Thinking

February 18, 2021
5 min

Design thinking helps us combat seemingly unsolvable issues that are highly complex and cannot be worked through using standard methods and approaches.

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”

- Peter F. Drucker, the father of management thinking.

This belief is very close to the basis of the oh-so-popular design thinking process - the “secret sauce” that most innovators use to achieve progress and success. It is a concept that teaches people from all fields on how to approach problems in a creative and unconventional way, just like designers do!

Design thinking is all about focusing on the user, viewing things from their perspective, trying to understand the what, why and how of their surroundings and beliefs. This process outlines a series of steps that guide you through becoming an empath, generating ideas and turning them into prototypes.

So, who uses design thinking the most?

The answer is that almost all innovative products, services, apps, websites and so on, are the results of innovators coming together and applying design thinking to their problem-solving process.

Don’t believe us? Here are 3 well-known examples of some of the most successful startups and companies that have come up with their niche solutions all through design thinking.


One of the key drivers of the enormous success that the online market space for lodging Airbnb has had has been design thinking.

Two men chatting with laptops in a casual co-working space

What helped them scale was actually doing something “completely non-scalable and non-technical” as a solution. The decision wasn’t backed by any data but instead, it was a matter of thinking like a potential customer.

What happened exactly? You can check out the details in this article called “How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Startup to a Billion Dollar Business.”

Uber Eats

What happens when you combine one of the oldest human activities with new technology?

An award-winning food delivery startup with global outreach called UberEats!

Their mission is to constantly put themselves in the shoes of their customers no matter whether they are in Bangkok, New York or London. UberEats dedicate enough time to research what users in different locations like to eat, drink, spend, do and how they live, essentially.

Group of colleagues in a casual meeting with laptops in a living room


The IT giant realized the potential of this problem-solving method a long time ago and has even invested in creating a whole Design Thinking department. This is their in-house innovation lab that spans over 30 studio spaces, allocated for design thinking.

Employees have the chance to get together, brainstorm, collaborate and prototype different ideas until they reach a solution.

There are also a few main principles that IBM uses to guide this process - follow your user, measure success, and stay curious.

The Bottom Line

So, the bottom line is that Design Thinking can definitely help get people to break out of their natural patterns of thinking and problem-solving in order to get on the right track to innovation.

As we’ve seen, this method is especially beneficial for startups that are trying to figure out if and how their service or product can position itself in a niche and provide an answer to users’ needs.

Stan+Vision has also always strived towards applying design thinking in every-day problem solving so we decided that it's time we share this knowledge with you!

Our Ultimate Guide to Design Thinking for Startups

Watch this space as we’ll be releasing our Ultimate Guide to Design Thinking for Startups very soon!

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