Design Thinking methods @DESIGN-IT : (4) Five whys

von Emma-Katharina David am 20. Juli 2018

Another week with a new design thinking method @DESIGN-IT. This week we dive in to the „five whys“. It is an interrogative tool used to discover the root cause to a problem.


Goal is to foster communication between team members and understanding of a product.


Toyoda Sakichi invented this method for the industrial manufacturing. Nowadays it can be used in many other fields. The idea behind this method is to go further than discovering the symptoms. In most cases the real problem lies behind the symptoms.


Task: By asking five whys in a certain problem, the root cause will finally reveal itself.


Read more about our experience and results below.


Generally this method is being met with  positivity. A key comment on it is that every company should use it when trying to find a root cause but also more generaly when developing a product.


The fact that by using this method the root cause is found and maybe valuable time spared is the key component of this method.


What some of the team members agree on is the fact that the person asking may at times sound unpolite. And if also that person does not really know the topic it is hard for him/her to guide the questions in the right direction.


„Its simplicity is misunderstood. The word „Why“ misleads people to limit their way of questioning, and therefore has a negative effect on the course of the discussion / interview.“

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