How to apply design thinking to your agri business in 6 steps

Design thinking is not exclusively a property of designers. All the great innovators in both literature and business have practised it. It is a working process that has helped teams solve problems with user-centred solutions. Therefore, the ultimate goal is to meet the needs of the individual in a way that is technologically feasible and commercially viable. There are 6 steps in which you can apply this process in your personal life as well as in your agribusiness:

6 steps to apply Design Thinking to your agribusiness:

  1. Empathise: Start by understanding the needs and challenges of customers, whether they are farmers, distributors or consumers. Through surveys and observations, in order to compile insights into their complaints and preferences. Engagement between your team and stakeholders at all levels is necessary to gain a better understanding of the issues within your agribusiness.
  2. Define: Based on the information compiled during the empathy phase, it is time to define the specific problems encountered and the opportunities they may create. It is important to clearly articulate these issues and thus establish a problem statement. An example of this for your agribusiness could be: “Farmers need to adopt more sustainable and inclusive practices to remove the technological barrier and improve their farming activities and economic status”. In such a case, we identify a certain problem affecting a stakeholder related to the sector, highlighting its consequences while focusing on a solution.
  3. Brainstorming: The team will brainstorm to define proposals to the problem presented. It is crucial to foster an unbiased creative environment, using techniques such as idea mapping or ideation sessions to generate a wide range of potential solutions. In the agricultural sector, both the farmer and the entrepreneur must be included and thus collect a greater diversification of solutions.
  4. Prototyping: Select the most promising ideas from the previous phase and start prototyping the proposed solutions. These can be physical, digital or conceptual, but low cost and easy to produce. In the end, the aim is to test and visualise potential solutions to help us understand how feasible and functional they can be.
  5. Experiment: During this phase the design team will share the prototypes with key audiences, including customers, stakeholders and end-users. Feedback and comments will be sought to redefine and improve the proposed solutions. These opinions will be aimed at rethinking the prototypes presented.
  6. Implement: Once the prototypes have been defined and the most ideal solution has been identified, it is time to implement it in the agribusiness. A plan is developed to scale the solution, allocate resources and involve the necessary stakeholders. It is crucial to monitor and evaluate the performance of the solution presented and make the necessary adjustments in the countries.
papeles de colores pegados en una mesa y una bombilla en el medio


Design thinking is not a one-time project, but a continuous approach to problem solving and innovation. By constantly applying these principles, you can redirect your agribusiness to meet customer needs and be more responsive to market dynamics.

You will learn more about how design thinking will improve your business in our Master in International Agribusiness Management, where our students learn how to be the future leaders of the sector to build their companies or take them to the next level.

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