Find examples of how design thinking is used to solve problems, prototype, and innovate.

As more organizations and companies across the world adopt design thinking into their operations, it becomes even more obvious just how essential innovation is for continued success and growth. These other companies have discovered what works for them to generate some amazing results. By reviewing their successes (and failures), you can learn how to incorporate innovation and design thinking methodology into your own processes, practices, and people. Here are a few powerful design thinking case studies to review for yourself:

Golden Gate Regional Center

This case study by HBR focuses on the Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC), an organization that provides services and financial support to people with developmental disabilities in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2013, GGRC began working with the Stanford to learn the basics of design thinking. They then took this methodology to better understand issues with the assessment and application procedures, leading to several prototypes to be launched and tested to improve processes and procedures for everyone.


The go-to food delivery service app attributes its success to being able to emphasize with customers and reiterate quickly. UberEat’s Walkabout Program is a great case study of design thinking and involves designers observing the cities in which the company operates. They inspect food culture, infrastructure, transportation, and delivery processes. This immersive research helped them build features to improve delivery processes and ensure a smoother ordering and delivery experience.

Netflix’s Innovative Updates

Netflix is a great example of a company that has repeatedly used design thinking methodology to adapt to a changing landscape. At its inception, its main competitor (Blockbuster) required customers to drive to brick-and-mortar stores to rent DVDs. Netflix eliminated that inconvenience by delivering DVDs directly to their homes with a subscription model.

As society moved away from DVDs, Netflix pivoted and created the on-demand streaming service they are mainly known as today. In 2011, the streaming service also realized that customers were looking for original, provocative content that wasn’t airing on traditional networks, and launched their own TV and film production for content only available on the Netflix service.


This story is more wildly known now, but Airbnb relied heavily on design thinking methodology and experimentation to transform themselves into the successful business they are today. Instead of focusing on scaling up the business, they realized through research and exploration that the correct focus at that early stage should be on understanding pain points and delivering a solution to give customers what they need. This led to an immediate doubling of initial revenue, and that philosophy continued to prove successful for them in the journey to come.


Afraid of being forgotten in this digital era, Burberry leadership decided to change tactics. They knew that the path forward was appealing to the younger generations’ sentiments and behavior, so the company invested heavily in social media. It invited users to collaborate on its design processes. In the end, the company was able to increase its appeal and connection with the right audience, leading to record revenue growth.

Design Thinking & Human-Centered Design in Healthcare & Pharma

Through the use of design thinking, hospitals and other medical organizations have been able to better serve their patients and address specific problems or needs. In two previous posts on our blog, we shared some examples of this methodology being used in the healthcare, medical devices and pharma fields, including GE Healthcare and Mayo Clinic. Find those case studies here and here.

The Good Kitchen

In 2007, Denmark had over 125,000 elderly citizens relying on government-sponsored meals. Danish design agency Hatch and Bloom were asked to design a new and improved meal delivery service for these cities. Enter The Good Kitchen, a service with greater quality, more freedom of meal choice, and more flexibility for both the elderly citizens and the employees involved in meal preparation and delivery. One of the most notable actions they took to help this dream become a reality was interviewing and prototyping with both customers and chefs. They uncovered feedback in this process that led to the successful system used today.


These design thinking case studies are a great jumping-off point for learning more about successful implementation of design thinking. For more resources and advice, be sure to check out our blog. If you are interested in learning more or getting help developing a custom innovation workshop or design thinking training session, Innovation Training can help. Contact us online today to learn how to get started.