Global Design Thinking Weeks

The Global Design Thinking Workshop (GDTW) is an introductory Design Thinking study program designed by the HPI School of Design Thinking in Potsdam in cooperation with GDTA member institutions.

In this program, participants experience Design Thinking not only as a process of this life-centered approach by dealing with complex innovation problems and a creative mindset in diverse teams.

We combine this life-centered approach with the perspective of technological feasibility (how can ideas be realized?) and economic viability (how can new business models look like?).

In our GDTW program we offer three different workshops with a respective focus topic, which we deepen into:

01 Strategic Design: From Human-Centered Design to Strategic Futures

02 Designing for Global Impact

03 Teamed Leadership

We combine the work on a concrete innovation project with reflections on a specific topic. Our learning approach is based on the concept of problem-based experiential learning. We implement this approach as a project-oriented course in which the participants collaborate with a partner organization (NPOs and NGOs, large companies, SMEs, young start-ups, social organizations and public institutions).

Strategic Design: From Human-Centered Design to Strategic Futures (6-30th September 2021)

Human-Centeredness is of the key pillars to the design of innovation processes. However, it is also the first pitfall and criticism of Design Thinking as interrogating and observing current needs of today’s users as they have difficulties to imagine others than near-by futures and might not care about long-term impact of design and consumption decisions. The imagination of our today’s user fails in particular short when it comes to envision disruptive solutions: we are able to give direct feedback about our dislike concerning today’s and tomorrow’s public transportation system, but we might not be able to give valuable insights about self-organizing traffic systems, as we can’t imagine how it really feels to be in a vehicle without a driver and a steering wheel.

Therefore, strategic futures come into play, as we want to create solutions that will work long-term and will also address near-by users’ delight. Thus, when we are about to change the current system towards a strategic design of the future that we all want to live in we have to tap into more than a human-centered approach. Thus, we have to design what’s the future we want to live in and what are the first steps into creating a systemic change.

Accordingly, this Global Design Thinking Workshop 01 will give you a strategic approach of  Design Thinking: You will learn about how to tap into trends, build scenarios and how to use speculative design to create desirable futures.

The Human-Centered Design and Strategic Futures workshop will take place in a “blended” format and will last 50-60 hours of working time. This means that all team work will take place in virtual space but participants will also conduct “on-site observations”. For example, you can interview people you know or go out on the street and observe what is happening there. For the virtual team work we use the digital tools Miro, openHPI and Zoom.

Designing for Global Impact (2022)

This Global Design Thinking Course focuses on framing innovations in a sustainable fashion. Human-centered solutions will fail short on implementation if they don’t incorporate finding new answers to the question of how to make a change on the systems-level. Here, we frame our Design Thinking approach with the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). The teams will design solutions for a global problem and will focus on how a solution can be translated to different local contexts to make an impact.

Teamed Leadership (2022)

This GDTW workshop focuses on team work and team dynamics of diverse and cross-functional teams. The diverse backgrounds of team members are an important factor for high-performing teams. The teams will work on a Design Thinking challenge related to this topic and at the same time we will dive into the questions of how to analyze, assess and enhance your individual and your team’s potential with regard to skills, team roles & communication, and leadership.

What makes the GDTW program global?

The program team:

We design our GDTW program with our international network of Design Thinking Coaches and cooperate regularly with partner institutions from our global network, which also gave rise to the GDTA (Global Design Thinking Alliance). Participants have the opportunity to benefit from the experience and exchange with colleagues from other design thinking institutions in the USA, South Africa, Sweden, Malaysia, Mexico and Egypt.

The participants:

In addition to HPI students, we particularly invite international participants to apply. In this program, they form international, multidisciplinary teams that work together with a team coach and a project partner on a real-life problem.

Program structure

We run these 3 workshops regularly and we are currently offering 2 GDTWs per year. You have to apply for each GDTW workshop separately.

You are invited to participate in more than GDTW workshop. If you are interested in more than one topic/focus, you can apply for several GDTWs. There is no fixed sequential order of the GDTW workshops.

Apply now for the Global Design Thinking Workshop

Interested students of all disciplines and universities and young professionals with less than two years of work experience can apply for the Global Design Thinking Workshops. The participation fee is 200 euros.

Applications for the Global Design Thinking Workshop “Strategic Design: From Human-Centered Design to Strategic Futures” are now open: Apply via the HPI D-School online platform until 31st July 2021.

To learn about the application process and how to become a project partner, please visit the website of the HPI D-School.