PRODUCT THINKING VS. DESIGN THINKING: Similarities and Differences from concept to practices

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Product Thinking is necessary for creating an excellent product design, wherein organizations can make sure that their product will meet customer needs, expectations and will be satisfied. By following a systematic approach, organizations can avoid pitfalls during product development. Most of the business organizations and its experts in the field will agree that thinking of a product design identifies an open door of opportunities that identifies and defines users’ needs and problems, provides a solution for specific concerns, and validates the solution through the user goals.

The creation of products is an essential part of businesses’ growth. When producing any product, we need to carefully understand exactly which problems and challenges our product is supposed to solve. There are many considerations arises as one produce the product that is required in the market. As part of the process in manufacturing there are very important things that needs to be highlighted and one of them is the product design. In this digitally driven environment, almost all business turns into the practice of focusing on the product design process (PDP) which is indeed a must have when dealing with product delivery. But in the other hand there is also a method that involves the concept of design that is equivalently important when producing a well thought product which is known as Design Thinking. Often time these two concepts were mistakenly identified as the same in concept but in practice they have their own identity and unique processes to deliver what is required in producing a product.

To identify its uniqueness here are the list of its differences and few similarities between Product Thinking and Design Thinking:


PT: It has the tendency to change and jump between business and creative thinking.

DT: It utilizes the business and creative thinking together and use them strategically to apply it in the process.


PT: It has its dependence on the designer to be a SKILLED EXPERT to resolve and reconcile the user’s requirement as an expected solution to optimize for EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTION.

DT: Takes its confidence on the designer to be SKILLED FACTORS to bring out others expertise, structuring the problem properly and coherently for the basis for a possible and emerging solutions. It improves the process for FINDING PROPBLEMS AND SOLVING WITH EMPATHY.

Both process uses Research, Prototyping and Testing, but Design Thinking involves people as the core of it’s process from all parts of the system so that everyone involved with product is also involved in the design of the product.


PT: It Involves some RESEARCH, but it tends to be about VALIDATING and EXISTING POINT OF VIEW on the solution.

DT: Finding the right problem to solve, the creating a prototyping and testing the solution. Once solution is found that is delightful, viable and feasible the PRODUCT DETAIL IS DESIGNED in the same way for both product design and design thinking.

Product Design

PT : It Re-Designs the product

DT : It Re-Designs the way to achieve the goal

Overall Product Thinking and Design Thinking has its own individual unique identity that provides solution in product realization. Product Thinking is intended to view the whole product and how to fulfill its main purpose and use. On the other hand, Design Thinking is bridging the gap with its users to its individual features. Between Product Thinking and Design Thinking, DT innovates and generates more solutions and minimizes more business risk than the traditional product design but involves more people and takes a longer and tedious process. Ultimately both are important but separately has their own identity to make the business to reach its goals and objectives.

Discover the power of Product Thinking and Design Thinking concepts in the ‘MBA in Global Business Administration with Applied Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking, and Innovation‘ course at Westford Uni Online. Enhance problem-solving and innovation skills for a user-centric approach to business success.


Mendes, A. (2022, July 15). Product Design Process and Design Thinking. Blog | Imaginary Cloud.

Crothers, B. (n.d.). Product Design vs. Design Thinking. O’Reilly Online Learning.

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