Design Thinking-Based Internship; An Efficient Alternative for Hiring Product Designers

Document Type : Original Article


1 Master of Industrial Design, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Master of Computer Architecture, College of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Pooyesh University, Qom, Iran.

3 Bachelor of Visual Communication student, Faculty of Visual Arts, University of Art, Tehran, Iran.

4 Bachelor of Applied Chemistry student, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

5 Ph.D Candidate, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Twente, Netherlands.

6 Bachelor of Psychology student, Faculty of Humanities, Islamic Azad University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

7 Bachelor of Software Engineering student, Faculty of Computer Engineering, Islamic Azad University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.

8 Master of Technological Entrepreneurship student, Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


To fill a specialized job position, organizations should provide onboarding training. Therefore, investigating more rapid and efficient training is unavoidable. This case study reports a method based on Design Thinking for training product designers during an internship to prepare them for a professional job position. This training, including the theory and practice, was conducted twice, with each taking three months. We organized two intern groups containing four participants under a senior product manager’s supervision as a mentor in — Bahar E-Commerce Company— a Fintech startup. After completing these internships, five external referees evaluated the trainees’ skills such as problem determination, ideation, design thinking, user experience, user interface design and product evaluation. In addition, the result of their design project was evaluated with real users. The results showed that trainees could conduct a design project at a professional level, offering great value to startups. On the other hand, the internship was more time-effective and cost-effective than onboarding a new employee and provided better compliance. For the trainees, applying the Design Thinking approach via an actual project in a startup was a fast way to become an expert in product design.