Design Thinking for Digital Transformation

By - Vikas Bhonsle, CEO, Crayon Software Experts India


Software is constantly updating, and this can be at times overwhelming for businesses. Any form of digital solutions today comes with the promise of increasing efficiency or that there will be an inflow of more business leads. At times, the sudden thrust of complex technologies or processes can backfire or slow down the expected progress. According to data from McKinsey and Company, “the average digital transformation stands a 45 percent chance of delivering less profit than expected.” It is mainly the top management who takes decisions for implementing newer digital solutions at work. Digital transformation must be user-centric and not technology-centric. The people using the technology, who will be interacting with the software and their perspective on the technology are most important. This is where design thinking comes in. 

Using Design Thinking for the Next Digital Transformation 

Digital transformation is reinventing business practices. Leading brands implement the concept of design thinking to re-develop new ways to solve problems, add value and fulfil customers’ needs. Some of the world’s leading brands have rapidly adopted this approach. It is about having a solution-based approach to solving problems. Using design thinking to embrace the organization’s digital transformation process helps tackle user-woes using a fluid, flexible, hands-on approach to interact with consumers and develop solutions. Design thinking usually covers five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. 

Step 1: Empathize

The most critical element in digital transformation is creating the most user-friendly and premium experience for the end-user. Empathy here plays a significant role. It helps to understand what are the needs, pain points, and aspirations of the end-user. Solutions are meant to solve problems of a larger audience, and seldom for oneself. With that benchmark, the solution design team knows that they may have the best technology, but they may not understand what the customer wants in the early phase. Having a deep understanding of the customer’s friction points helps designers approach the problems better. 

Step 2: Defining the Problems

Defining the problem areas brings clarity to what needs to be solved. With the help of the insight gained in the first stage, the problem statements can now be well specified. This stage can get a bit overwhelming, as many problems will surface to need attention. It is essential not to lose focus but instead break the issues into unique and manageable opportunities. 

Step 3: Ideate

Figuring out definitive problems helps generate ideas on how to solve the same. In the ideation phase, brainstorm takes center stage, where the collective minds of a group come together to develop a variety of creative ideas. The ideation phase is usually quick, clever, and most importantly, a collaborative step between the design teams and the end-user. 

Step 4: Prototype

In the prototyping stage, the design team usually experiments with inexpensive and straightforward models to quickly test and validate the solution ideas. The prototypes should be tested on a small set of users – who are usually the ones who would be using the product. In this step, the design team must observe how people interact with the prototype, take their feedback, and use this information to adjust and optimize the next model. There will be several iterations in this phase, and the more they are, the better the chance of getting out the best prototype version. This phase will help the design team to understand what will work and what the actual customers will think and feel when interacting with the final solution. 

Step 5: Test

Multiple and continuous testing of several different prototypes gives the best opportunity to improve the end product. User feedback only enhances the customer experience. While testing the final version, the information gathered in the previous stages of the design thinking process plays a pivotal role. 


Digital transformation is a must approach in today’s customer-centric world. Design thinking helps the solution team get into the customer’s shoes and solve the problem and the needs acutely from their perspective. The enthusiasm for a digital makeover is commendable. Still, it is essential to ascertain that the solutions are not for digitization but for making the lives easier for the end-users.