15 years of design thinking: What makes the innovation approach so successful

HPI Hasso Plattner Institute


The design thinking innovation approach has long been established in science and business – companies and organizations worldwide benefit from the new mindset, which can solve problems faster and drive innovation. The success story of Design Thinking in Europe is closely linked to the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), which has had its own School of Design Thinking (HPI D-School) since 2007 and this year 15 years of Design Thinking at HPI with a special Podcast and a large hybrid “Design Thinking ImpAct Conference”.

The d-school was founded on the model of the Stanford d.school in Potsdam and has quickly developed into Europe’s leading educational center for design thinking. More than 3,000 students from various disciplines have developed new and innovative solutions to various problems there over the past 15 years. The head of the D-School, Professor Ulrich Weinberg, is one of Germany’s leading innovators. In the new HPI knowledge podcast Neuland, he talks with the academic head of the D-school, Dr. Claudia Nicolai and moderator Leon Stebe about leaps in the development of design thinking over the past 15 years, special experiences and excellent projects. How has design thinking evolved since the beginning? What are the reasons for the international success story of the innovation approach in the various areas of society?

“There is no area that cannot be optimized and improved with design thinking, because almost everyone deals with complex issues,” says Professor Ulrich Weinberg. People are confronted with increasingly complex problems, but the solutions are often crude or focused on single disciplines. This would have been shown again in the pandemic. “We approach complex problems differently from a design thinking perspective. We bring people together in interdisciplinary teams, encourage them to think holistically and prioritize creativity,” says Weinberg. If the focus had still been on user-centred product development a few years ago, the innovation approach would have evolved into a human- or life-centred approach, says Dr. Claudia Nicolai. “We are interested in what we see in terms of social impact. Can we use Future Skills to persuade people not only to endure innovation processes, but to initiate them,” asks Nicolai.

At the Hasso Plattner Institute, design thinking is no longer only used, taught and researched in the HPI D-School. Since 2008, the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking research program has been investigating how design thinking innovations work. Since 2019, the “Design Thinking and Innovation Research” department has been investigating methods and procedures for how the adaptation and integration of Human-Centered Design (HCD) and Design Thinking in companies leads to sustainable business innovations. And the IT departments also work together and do research with the HPI D-school.

Well-grounded knowledge of the digital world, explained clearly and comprehensibly – this is what the knowledge podcast “Neuland” offers with experts from the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) at: https://podcast.hpi.de, on iTunes and Spotify. Once a month at Neuland, they talk about current and societally relevant digital topics, their research work and the opportunities and challenges of digital trends and developments.

Brief profile HPI School of Design Thinking

The HPI School of Design Thinking ( https://hpi.de/school-of-design-thinking.html ) was founded by Hasso Plattner in Potsdam in 2007 on the model of the Stanford d.school and has since become the European competence center for education developed within design thinking. The HPI D-school offers 300 places per year for an additional course in the innovation approach. In small, interdisciplinary teams, students from a wide range of disciplines develop innovative and human-centred solutions to complex practical problems. They work closely with project partners from companies, NGOs and political institutions. As an initiator of the Global Design Thinking Alliance (GDTA), the HPI D-School promotes exchange between design thinking schools in 19 countries on five continents.

Brief profile of the Hasso Plattner Institute

The Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) in Potsdam is Germany’s university center of excellence in digital engineering ( https://hpi.de ). With the bachelor’s degree “IT Systems Engineering”, the joint digital engineering faculty of HPI and the University of Potsdam offers a Germany-wide unique and particularly practical engineering computer science education, which is currently used by around 700 students. In the five master’s programs “IT Systems Engineering”, “Digital Health”, “Data Engineering”, “Cybersecurity” and “Software Systems Engineering”, you can set your own research priorities based on this. HPI always takes top positions in the CHE university rankings. The HPI School of Design Thinking, Europe’s first student innovation school based on the Stanford d.school model, offers 300 places for further study each year. There are currently 22 professors and over 50 other visiting professors, lecturers and lecturers working at HPI. It carries out excellent university research – in its IT departments, but also in the HPI Research School for PhD students with its research branches in Cape Town, Irvine, Haifa and Nanjing. HPI teaching and research focuses on the fundamentals and applications of large, highly complex and networked IT systems. In addition, there is development and research of user-oriented innovations for all areas of life.

Press contact:

Press contact: presse@hpi.de
Christiane Rosenbach, Tel. 0331 5509-119, christiane.rosenbach@hpi.de

Original content from: HPI Hasso Plattner Institute, transmitted by news aktuell

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