Design Thinking & MVP: Power Duo to Boost Your Digital Product

Vladislav Gavriluk

Vladislav Gavriluk

CEO & Founder at Arounda

In today's competitive business world, companies strive to create products that meet user needs and provide outstanding experiences. Consider the digital solutions that wowed us, like Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix, showcasing thoughtfulness and exceptional value. 

Behind each game-changing product stands tremendous work to refine and define the problem and provide a tailored, efficient solution. When applying the power duo – the principle of design thinking and Minimum Viable Product concept, a business can create an innovative, efficient product that stands out even in the most crowded market.

At Arounda, we specialize in helping companies create tailored digital products excelling in today's competitive landscape. Join us as we discover the essence of design thinking and minimum viable product (MVP) and learn how they work together, ensuring optimal results.

Table of Contents

What is Design Thinking?

In a nutshell, design thinking empowers you to uncover solutions to specific customer problems. It’s possible thanks to a profound understanding of your users' backgrounds, needs, aspirations, and pain points. This method balances human-centered ideas with thorough research, dozens of tests, and prototypes to enhance the core value.

Here’s how design thinking pioneer Tim Brown defines the most critical stages of this process.

1. Empathize

Combine research and a human-centered approach to understand users, their aspirations, and problems.

2. Define

Analyze your observations to refine and describe the problem requiring a solution.

3. Ideate

Unleash your creativity, brainstorm, and don’t be afraid to think in opposite directions. Some efficient solutions need crafting from the beginning.

4. Prototype

Create a scaled-down version of your solution. Cut off all the unnecessary features and come up with a rough version representing the core of your idea.

5. Test

Drag your prototype through various scenarios. This way, you’ll see what needs improvement and extra effort. At the same time, get rid of the unnecessary prototype parts without hesitation.

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

Picture yourself undertaking a major house renovation project. It's a complex endeavor, but you've done your thorough research! You believe you know exactly what to do and how to do it. But suddenly, a thought crosses your mind: "Shouldn’t I start with a smaller-scale experiment to test the waters?"

So, instead of painting your entire living room walls a vibrant coral red, you decide to use the color on a smaller, less visible area and ask your family’s opinion.

And this way, you discover the following:

  • Coral red is not your cup of tea, you’d prefer a pastel yellow.

  • Layering paint is time-consuming, so you go with the wallpapers instead.

  • Your ladder is too short to work for this project, so you order a bigger one.

Congratulations! Now you are one step closer to understanding how to build a minimum viable product. Because an MVP is an initial product version with the essential features and functionality to gather valuable user feedback. With its help, you validate your concept, make data-driven improvements, and ensure that your final product meets your goals.

Implementing the MVP approach enables you to gather insights, analyze them thoroughly, and iteratively address any flaws and minor issues. It saves your time and money and, at the same time, safeguards your reputation. And if you continuously refine your product based on user feedback, you have a better chance to develop a solution that caters to your audience’s needs and preferences.

Design Thinking in Developing an MVP

Applying design thinking to MVP development ensures your product addresses users' requirements and delivers the desired experience. Here's why it’s a winning combination.

Better Understanding 

The design thinking approach provides insights into our product from a user's perspective. Therefore, you can develop, design, write, and fine-tune your solution that aligns with the actual users’ expectations.


Design thinking makes you question what you already know while searching for the perfect solution. It encourages you to generate innovative ideas, features, and cross-functional collaborations. As a result, you create a new, valuable, and desired product.


Minimum viable product design relies on prototypes – simplified product versions with core features. They are easier to test, improve, and validate. Like in our coral-red living room example, prototyping allows for shaping and refining your product based on how well the scaled-down version performed.

Iterations and Step-by-Step Approach

Both MVP and design thinking support a steady progress pace. Collect, analyze, and adopt user feedback when shaping your product. This iterative process eliminates chaotic steps and decisions, ensuring you mind user needs and continuously improve the user experience.

User-Centric Focus

When focused on your target users, you will deliver core value and create products that truly resonate with their needs. This approach will keep your products viable in the long run. Moreover, you will avoid the common pitfall of losing sight of your audience’s actual requirements.

But how do we efficiently implement this powerful duo?


Explore the best way to unleash the true potential of combining design thinking and MVP.Let`s have a talk.

A Step-by-step Guide to Building an MVP with the Design Thinking Approach

Let's see how to apply the design thinking Minimum Viable Product approach and what outcome to expect at the end of each step.

1. A User Has a Problem

What you have: Start with a vague understanding of a problem requiring a solution.

What you assess: Carefully study our audience to comprehend their needs, aspirations, and pain points. Thus, you define the problem and its context more precisely.

What you do: Generate and analyze a stack of ideas based on your perception of the problem and potential solutions.

The outcome: Emerge with several ideas ready to transform into prototypes.

2. We Have the Prototype

What you have: At this stage, you possess a simplified solution with only the core features.

What you assess: Evaluate the prototype’s appearance, functionality, and overall value.

What you do: To match the audience's needs and requirements, make necessary adjustments that deliver value and ensure a satisfying user experience.

The outcome: After refining your prototype, you get a polished version ready to launch as an MVP.

3. A User Has a Problem – We Have a Solution

What you have: With the refined prototype’s launch, you have an adjusted and enhanced version of your product.

What you assess: Observe how the MVP performs and how the audience interacts with it. Then, carefully analyze the users’ insights into those interactions.

What you do: Keep improving your product through constant iterations and refinements. Thus, you will ensure it is ready to conquer the world.

The outcome: You get a tailored, adjusted, and valuable product that effectively solves the end users’ problem.

Executive Summary

In today's competitive business world, creating products that meet user needs and deliver exceptional experiences is crucial. The Arounda team has applied design thinking and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) principles for over five years. And thanks to our solutions, our clients stand out in this fast-paced environment.

Design thinking involves deeply understanding users' backgrounds, needs, and pain points to refine and define solutions. On the other hand, an MVP is about launching an initial product version with the essential features. Thus, you gather feedback, validate concepts, and make improvements. As a result, this powerful duo is efficient across a wide range of industries. With its help, businesses create user-centered and problem-solving digital products. 

Need a tailored solution that delivers outstanding experiences for your customers? Contact Arounda to bring your vision to life!

Vladislav Gavriluk
Vladislav Gavriluk
CEO & Founder at Arounda
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.

Frequently asked questions

  • What does MVP stand for in innovation design thinking?

    In innovation and design thinking, MVP is a starting point for testing hypotheses, gathering insights, and validating assumptions about the product's value proposition.

  • What are examples of the minimum viable product?

    An example of an MVP is an initial version of a mobile app that focuses on essential functionalities based on user needs. Alternatively, it could be an e-commerce website with core features like product listings, a shopping cart, and secure payment options. For a social networking platform, an MVP may consist of user profiles, the ability to connect with friends, share photos, and post updates. Considering end-user feedback and market demand, a development team can add some extra features later.

  • How does the combination of MVP and Design Thinking benefit the development of digital products?

    When creating user-centered solutions, design thinking provides insights into user needs, aspirations, and pain points. On the other hand, MVP principles let companies develop initial versions of their products that focus on core features. The product evolves to meet user requirements through iterative testing, refining, and improving cycles. This approach saves time and resources while ensuring a product-market fit.

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