‘How might we’? Empathising and brainstorming!

In the 6th week of our start-up journey, we have been given a task to redesign a service or a product that doesn’t meet our expectations.

Our first attempts to find a start-up idea brought nothing more, but a failure. We found many different problems from paper coffee filters that always break, stepping in a dog poo to lack of bins in the city centre. None of them seemed good..

When I first came to London the biggest challenge for me was to navigate myself in the city and learn how to use the underground. I was never sure, which line I should take and in which direction to go. My height of 158 cm also didn’t help as I couldn’t see properly where I was going because of the taller people in front of me. Directions in the tube aren’t clear enough and sometimes I would end up squished against the wall, trying to figure out where to go.

Together with my start-up group Vivien, Sheng-Yi and Valentin, we came up with an idea of putting the signs on the floor, to make it even easier for tourists to travel around the city. The lines on the floor had the same colour as the tube line for example the Piccadilly line – blue, the Jubilee line – grey and the City line – red. The colourful lines on the floor would directly lead to the next platform.

Here is the picture that illustrates the idea.


There was something we had to test. We weren’t sure if the idea will works because we weren’t sure if the tube always stops in the same place, therefore if the door will open in the same place. We went to the station and we observed for a while and we observed that the tube always stops in the same place, therefore drawing the signs on the floor could possibly work.

We presented our idea to the class. Many people said that they experienced the same problem. Someone asked us why didn’t we apply that idea in the mobile phone app. The answer was simple, firstly we wanted to make it more accessible for the older generations that don’t rely on the phone all the time. Secondly, there is no signal in the underground, so using the app wouldn’t be so effective. Overall we got a good feedback for applying the design thinking theories of ‘how might we’ and really empathising with the end users. However, we were told that this is not really a business idea and can’t be used in the star-up. Even though we haven’t got the idea for the start-up we practised the design thinking methods and applied them to the real life situation. Moreover, we worked together as a team that is very important and will be essential in generating more ideas for the future.



Comi,A. (2018)’ Design Thinking for Start-ups. Brief for EAW’ [Power Point Presentation]. BS7708:Design Thinking for Start-ups Available at: https://canvas.kingston.ac.uk/courses/9283/pages/semester-1-sessions

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