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The Define Stage

Now we have collected data - how do we make sense of it? Elna a Design Factory coach explains how.

Before we go into the define stage we would normally do a stocktake to ensure we have collected the right data from the right sources, and identified any gaps. For example, have we asked a cleaner their opinions? Have we talked to waste experts? Have we talked to packagers? If not we would stay in the empathy stage for a little bit longer and collect that information.

In this exercise we don’t have time to delve into a wide range of information (or deeply) so lets make sure we have:

  • Your secondary research notes (answers to the questions compelted in step 1.6)
  • Your primary research notes (data from 5 interviews from step 1.7)

The start of the sense making phase is to go through your collected data and HIGHLIGHT any information that you believe is key to understanding the challenge. If the same data is repeated from different sources we still highlight it. e.g. if two people say they don’t think about the waste they create then make sure it is highlighted for each person.


Have a listen to Elna Fourie, a Design Factory Coach at DFNZ, introduce the Define stage. She will explain the importance of the stage and some ways we can make sense of the data.

What is one new thing you have learnt from the Elnas explanation of the Define stage.

Comment below.

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Design Thinking for Sustainable Development

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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