Opportunities and Limitations of Design Thinking as Strategic Approach for Navigating Digital Transformation in Organizations

PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel, Annie Kerguenne


Within the last decade, Design Thinking has evolved from a method for creating innovative solutions to a strategy of “applying the principles of design to the way people work.” (Harvard Business Review September 2015). The accelerating rate of integration of digital technology into organizational processes has implied an increased need for agile methods and strategies that help transformation work sustainably for people. Our work seeks to discover how Design Thinking can contribute to lowering the current failure rate of transformational activities (up to 70%, according to BCG publication 2020). We will start with an analysis and synthesis of learnings regarding the application of Design Thinking to digital transformation from previous HPDTRP research and other relevant sources. Based on the gained insights, the project will draft and analyze applied cases by speaking to practitioners in key functions of digital transformation processes. We will draw on the skills and knowledge of a wide range of actors including Design Thinking-, Systems Engineering researchers, digital transformation practitioners from startups as well as established organizations in collaborative workshops. The project will leverage these skills to create a first draft of a “Design Thinking Strategy Kit for Digital Transformation”. Insights generated through this project will point to the concepts and practices of Design Thinking that contribute most to fostering human centered, participative and iteration based digital transformation processes.


Mara Meisel