From October 20th to 22nd, the annual GDTA Global Design Thinking Conference occurred at PennState’s The Learning Factory in Pennsylvania, USA. As a global network, the GDTA Global Design Thinking Alliance is expanding further in promoting the principles and practices of Design Thinking. The conference was held under “Upskilling the Current and Future Workforce.”
On Friday, the 20th, the internal GDTA meeting presented the alliance’s strategic plans and initiatives to partner with new members worldwide. As the first and, to date, the only member in Ecuador, the I3LAB ESPOL received the official certificate and pin as a formal recognition of being a member of the GDTA. Sharon Guamán-Quintanilla, Academic Coordinator, Researcher, and Lecturer at ESPOL’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (i3lab), said: “It’s a significant milestone for our center and another evidence of ESPOL’s commitment to fostering Design Thinking in our region.
We look forward to new members joining the Global Design Thinking Alliance.”
The day after, the annual and open GDTA conference was hosted at The LearningFactory, an amazing 10.000 square meter Engineering Design and Innovation Building on the PennState campus, by Matt Parkinson (Professor at PennState University and Director of The LearningFactory) and Jessica Menold (Associate Professor at PennState University).
Two-panel sessions covered the global perspectives on design thinking, moderated by Uli Weinberg (Founding Director of D-School Potsdam and President of GDTA). Lakshmi Devi Rao, a recent part of the Professionals’ Track at HPI D-School in Potsdam, showed impressive insights into her daily work as a Design Thinking advisory coach in the government space in Meghalaya, India. Furthermore, John Ochsendorf (Professor at MIT and director of Morningside Academy for Design), Richard Perez (director of d-school Afrika), and Matt Parkinson discussed the importance of space and architecture in different cultural environments.
The second panel provided unique insights from Design Thinking initiatives in Kazakhstan, delivered by Maria Stashenko, and from Ukraine, provided by Nadia Khokhlova.
The presentations were followed by a hands-on prototyping workshop and a flavor of Design Thinking Dinner to allow all participants to interact with each other. For the closing ceremony, the Global Design Thinking Alliance showed an incredible opportunity to connect with like-minded practitioners, researchers, and teachers from academic institutions worldwide. Today, we count 35 members from 23 countries – stay in touch; we’ll keep you posted!