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Ashley Cook

Director of Research, Brand Experience

John Neuhoff

Senior UX Researcher, Brand Experience

Traditional problem-solving methods often fall short in addressing the complexities of the digital age, where technology and user expectations are in a state of perpetual motion. This is where design thinking, with its human-centered approach and innovative problem-solving techniques, comes to the forefront, and it’s nothing short of magic.

Traditional Problem-Solving: A Linear Approach


Problem Identification

Recognizing the problem or challenge that needs to be solved.



Gathering data and information to understand the problem thoroughly.


Solution Generation

Creating a set of potential solutions or strategies.



Weighing the pros and cons of each solution based on established criteria.



Putting the chosen solution into practice.



Reflecting on the results of the implemented solution and adjusting as necessary.

Traditional Problem-Solving vs. Design Thinking 

Now that we’ve taken you through a refresher on traditional problem-solving, let’s explore the distinctions between these two concepts:

Linear vs. Iterative:
Traditional problem-solving typically follows a step-by-step, linear progression, whereas design thinking is a more iterative process. Design thinking encourages revisiting and revising previous stages as new insights emerge. 

Problem Framing:
In traditional problem-solving, problems are usually framed based on predetermined criteria. Design thinking, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of understanding the problem from the user’s perspective, which often leads to a more human-centered problem definition. 

Empathy and User-Centricity:
Design thinking places a strong emphasis on empathy and understanding the end-users’ needs and emotions. When you put yourself in their shoes, it’s not just about meeting their basic requirements but truly grasping what tools and resources would make their lives better or easier. 

Creativity and Ideation:
Design thinking actively promotes brainstorming and creative ideation, encouraging participants to think beyond conventional solutions. It’s all about fostering a creative, idea-packed environment to unlock unique and game-changing solutions. While traditional problem-solving may rely more on proven methodologies and expertise. 

Prototyping and Testing:
Design thinking integrates the creation of prototypes with testing with end-users into the problem-solving process. It’s all about getting hands-on and practical to refine solutions and ensure they work for the people who need them. 

The Magic of Design Thinking

Before diving into the benefits of design thinking, let’s demystify it a bit. Design thinking is a creative, iterative process that focuses on understanding the needs, desires, and behaviors of end-users to develop solutions that truly resonate with them. It places human experiences at the heart of digital transformation. By fostering empathy, collaboration, and adaptability, design thinking is the key to successful innovation in the digital era.



Design thinking’s about more than just addressing basic requirements like traditional problem-solving; it’s about understanding the deeper needs, preferences, and emotions of users. This human-centric approach results in solutions that are not just technologically advanced but also user-friendly and effective. Imagine the delight of your users when they find digital solutions that seem almost tailored to their needs—that’s the magic of design thinking.



Creativity is at the core of the design thinking process. It encourages brainstorming, idea generation, and thinking beyond conventional solutions. In digital transformation, creativity opens doors to innovative, tailored solutions that traditional methods often lack. With design thinking, you’re no longer bound by the limitations of past practices, and this creativity becomes your secret for digital success.



The digital space is known for its unpredictability. New insights emerge, trends evolve, and user preferences shift. Design thinking’s iterative nature allows for flexibility and adaptability. When the unexpected happens, design thinking enables you to go back and refine your solutions, making it a perfect fit for the complex and ever-evolving challenges this space presents.



Design thinking fosters collaboration and welcomes diverse perspectives, creating a dynamic and comprehensive understanding of the problem at hand. This diverse set of skills and viewpoints often leads to groundbreaking solutions. Collaboration brings a blend of ideas to life, ensuring a more holistic approach.


User Feedback:

Design thinking’s continuous testing and adaptation based on real user feedback ensure that your solutions stay on the right track. It minimizes the risk of investing in digital solutions that miss the mark and helps you refine your creations based on what truly resonates with your audience.

Reshaping Digital Success with a Human-Centered Approach

Design thinking’s user-centricity, creative problem-solving, adaptability, collaboration, and user feedback make it an invaluable resource for businesses looking to thrive in the digital age. The magic of design thinking isn’t just in its techniques but in the results, it brings—more successful, user-focused, and competitive digital initiatives that leave a lasting mark.