Adopting The Double Diamond Design Process: A Complete Guide


Put forth by the British Design Council in 2005, the Double Diamond model is a design process framework inspired by the divergence-convergence model of 1996, proposed by Hungarian American linguist  Béla H. Bánáthy. 

It has since then gained prominence as a roadmap for product creation. This article will dive into what the Double Diamond design process is and the stages involved in it.


What is the Double Diamond design process?

The British design council sought to study numerous large-scale businesses to determine how they conducted their design thinking processes to reach innovative and creative solutions to their processes. 

Astoundingly they uncovered that all companies had a similar set of processes and steps in their design thinking approach when facing complex business problems. 

Although some of these steps had slight variations from business to business, they followed similar progression paths. 

The British Design Council sought to identify and create a standard model of the four most commonly used business methodologies to develop problem solutions.

The process is illustrated as two diamonds connected, holding the four most widely utilized stages of designing creative solutions – Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver.

Thus, the Double Diamond model was born and is a design process that is universally applicable for use within most industries. 


What are the stages in the double-diamond design model?

According to the Double Diamond design model, the four creative design stages situated at different points across the two diamonds are to discover, define, develop, and deliver. 

The first diamond, or the Problem Diamond, represents the first two problem-related stages, Discover and Define. The second diamond, or the Solution Diamond, represents the third and fourth solution-related stages, Develop and Deliver.

Apart from this, the Double Diamond model begins with the problem and, halfway between the second and third stages, defines the problem. It ultimately ends with the finalized scalable solutions after the fourth stage. 

To better understand the progression of the Design Diamond process, let us take an individual look at each of its stages and its objectives:


Stage 1 - Discover:

The Double Diamond Model begins with gathering data on the problem and identifying all the variables that act as roadblocks to achieving an effective solution. 

Acknowledging all the problems and formulating the appropriate hypotheses helps gather more information about the issues.

The primary goal behind this stage is to enable teams to understand all the facets of the problem and brainstorm potential solutions. 

Mind mapping is another effective technique that helps identify all the ideas surrounding the business problem. This stage encourages employees’ out-of-the-box strategic and creative design thinking to reach unique solutions.

The British Design Council further ascertained that most successful organizations placed their designers close to customers during this research stage, resulting in a better understanding of customers’ problems and needs. 

Conducting focus groups and interviews are good ways to come face-to-face with customers and ask them questions about real-world problems they face concerning your products. 

Another methodology is mapping the customer journey, seeing how they interact with the problems, and gathering relevant information.  

When conducting research for the discovery phase, it is worth knowing that the information gathered can be vast and require extensive filtering to achieve actionable data. 

A common problem faced here is mismanaging the gathered data. More than simply collecting the data, this stage is also about properly storing and managing the data, so it can be leveraged by all creative teams when necessary.


Stage 2 - Define:

In this stage, it’s of great importance to understand not only the problem but also its cause. 

Identifying the fundamental cause of the problem provides information that can be paramount in devising the best creative solutions. 

Five Whys and root cause analysis are some valuable techniques you can use to identify the root cause. 

Once designers have gathered all the information and understood customer-facing problems better, it’s time to define the problem. 

At this stage, the Double Diamond model suggests that you properly leverage the data obtained by refining it to the most relevant issues, such as process redundancies, design flaws, wastage of time and resources, bottlenecks, and other potential improvements. 

Here, you also provide your design and non-design stakeholders with a concise understanding of the scope of the project and its limitations. 

Before commencing, your teams must consider the company’s project resource limitations, namely time and money. 

For instance, if solving a non-consequential problem requires burning through a significantly high amount of company capital with little to no positive impact on the business, it’s often sidelined until a future point in time when it becomes feasible to solve. 

Once the fundamental problems that require immediate attention are defined and designers have come up with creative solutions that bring quantifiable brand value, they are ready to be documented in a formal proposal to be sent to upper management.

It now lies in the hands of leadership to either approve or decline the proposal and in most cases, businesses don’t take the decision lightly. 

Based on the approval status, designers can either proceed to the development stage or go back to the drawing board for alternative solutions that might be beneficial. 

This loop occurs until upper management finds a project as a lucrative opportunity for the brand and grants approval along with an allocated budget. 

Typically, the upper management considers project budget requests and assigns budgets that it estimates are sufficient for project completion. The budget, in this instance, can either go higher or lower than the initial ask, considering the project potential and financial team inputs for optimum ROI. 


Stage 3 - Develop:

Stages one and two only focus on identifying and refining problems to give a clear direction for designers to devise a project plan. 

Once upper management approves, the creative department can proceed to the next development stage, where the actual design begins.

In this stage, you start utilizing the ideas you formulated during the first two stages. Now the design teams focus on using all prior gathered information to design working prototypes and test them through methodologies like rapid testing. 

A common practice amongst businesses here is creating a minimum viable product (MVP) that does not have all the features proposed for the final projects but is functioning enough for basic user testing. 

The goal here is to create all manners of solutions in the form of prototypes and test their success in real-life scenarios. It is essential to understand user feedback and product sentiment to fine-tune the design for optimal success and value. 

Analyzing different customer segments and gauging how they perceive the product is an excellent way to improve the prototype. 

This analysis also helps identify the product’s most favorable target demographic. 

This state requires stakeholders from different competencies, including developers, engineers, marketing experts, financial experts, upper management, and manufacturing units, to collaborate to achieve a successful result.


Stage 4 - Deliver:

We finally arrive at the last stage of the Double Diamond process, which is delivering the completed product. 

This stage involves releasing the product into the real-world market. But before doing so, it is a bit of advice to take this opportunity to eliminate all the unfeasible solutions and focus only on the prototypes that users find undeniably meaningful and valuable.

Perfecting prototypes can often be an iterative approach, where the designers decide where to draw a line and mark the product ready for deployment. 

Remember, this is your final opportunity before your product is made available to the general public, so if there are any final kinks to address, now would be the time. 

As they say, the first impression is everlasting, and it is no different in today’s customer-driven world either. 

In most instances, the final product still has a long pathway of innovation and room for improvement, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prioritize releasing the best possible iteration for the launch. 

User feedback is of great importance if you wish to continue innovating your product in the future. By employing tools such as think-aloud, surveys, and shadowing, teams can stay updated with customer feedback and accordingly improve upon their outcomes.


In conclusion, the problem and solution diamonds work together to achieve excellent outputs. But it would help if you also kept in mind that the Double Diamond model isn’t a fixed formula. 

It is a communication tool that allows the process transparency and guidelines necessary to bring about excellent design outcomes with clear directions, goals, and milestones for the teams involved. 

You can always tweak it according to your unique business requirements, yet the fundamental principles remain the same. 

Irrespective of how your Double Diamond process journey unfolds, it would be wise to have a concise roadmap that keeps you focused on the solution.


Adopt the Double Diamond design approach with Cubyts

If you are having trouble formulating and managing your Double Diamond projects, do not fret. Our team at Cubyts has worked tirelessly to provide you with a robust DesignOps platform with all the essential tools you need to create triumphant and lucrative solutions to your complex business problems.

You can quickly adapt the Double Diamond design approach using Cubyts’ template to manage your project effectively. 

Much like our design sprint template, we spent a lot of time and effort providing you with the best possible Double Diamond module to manage all four stages of your projects. 

To catch a glimpse of what Cubyts platform can do for your business, you must sign up and start using the platform. We guarantee you that our template will help you assist in fulfilling your Double Diamond objectives and getting your creative ideas closer to fruition. 

Contact us to learn more about how Cubyts can scale your business with DesignOps.