Through the process of our start-up venture, I have learnt that everyone can have ideas, but what matters is their execution. Especially regarding the value. The value that a person pay and emotional value the product brings to a person.

In order to bring emotional value to our product and create a product that “…users care about” (Graham, 2017) we used empathy map, activity theory and design thinking approach.

Design thinking is a “…system that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business can convert into consumer value and market opportunity.” (, 2017). 

Martin and Christensen (2013) believes that design process should suggest a hypothesis-directed approach, rethink the problem and evaluate implication. Such methods focus on testing which focuses on testing which generates new ideas, outcomes, possibilities and is important in design thinking application. We performed this through the process when testing a variety of shapes of the bowties on trade fairs. This lead us to the conclusion which was the most wanted shape and we focussed on it for further production. We also understood that customer for small companies plays a vital role (Mazzarol, Reboud 2011).

We used observation from empathy map when we used magnets on our products rather than pins. The reason was the realisation that majority of our consumers did not like pins saying that they ruin the sensitive fabric. We wanted for our consumers to wear our symbol of gender equality on a daily basis, therefore magnets were the solution to solve this particularly issue, which was solved with design thinking approach and empathy map.

Engeström’s (2001) Activity theory illustrates that human actions towards cultural artefacts conquered individual in the society. The person could no longer be understood without his cultural means and society could no longer be perceived without the individuals who designed the artefacts. Without those means, objects were raw materials.

This theory was embedded into our product. Equalytie bowtie became cultural item presenting persons’ action in supporting the gender equality cause as the key to understand the human psyche.

With this in mind, our Equalytie bowtie was human-centered design presented in a commercial manner.



Kelley, T., Kelley, D. (2014) Creative confidence. London: William Collins., p.175-200.
Robinson, K. (2014). Life is your talents discovered | Sir Ken Robinson | TEDxLiverpool. Available at: (Accessed 25 Apr. 2017).
Amabile, T. and Khaire, M. (2008) ‘Creativity and the Role of the Leader’, Harvard Business Review, October 2008, p. 106.
University, S. (2017). Text of Steve Jobs’ Commencement address (2005). Stanford News. Available at: (Accessed 25 Apr. 2017).
Graham, P. (2017). How to Make Wealth. Available at: (Accessed 26 Apr. 2017).
Engeström, Y., 2001. Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of education and work14(1), pp.133-156.