Julia von Thienen was born in 1978 in Berlin. She studied psychology at the Free University of Berlin with an emphasis on research methodology and cognitive neuroscience. Electives were mathematics and computer sciences. In her PhD work, Julia von Thienen discussed differing theories of causation in psychology versus cognitive neuroscience – and how the two disciplines can create joint knowledge bases nonetheless. At the Free University of Berlin and at the University of Chicago she taught research methodology and philosophy of science. Apart from that, she worked in psychotherapeutic domains since 2003, specializing in behaviour psychotherapy.
Julia von Thienen joined the Hasso-Plattner-Institute at the University of Potsdam in 2008. In the project e.valuate, her team analyzed driving forces of design thinking. In the project Tele-Board MED, Julia von Thienen and her colleagues are concerned with an exchange of tools among design thinking and psychotherapy. More generally, the aim is to promote doctor-patient teamwork by building on design thinking ideas and work equipment.
Another research focus is design thinking theory. Julia von Thienen suggested an iterated design thinking process model and techniques to “bring home big ideas”. In terms of techniques and tools, she created a design thinking based problem solving crash course for psychotherapy patients. Besides that, she pioneered new approaches to help people handle failure and to implement “big ideas” in a world that sometimes does not welcome change.
Privately, Julia von Thienen is fond of being able to contribute to the academic life in her region as a member of the board of directors of the Erhard Höpfner Erhard Höpfner Foundation, which supports young academics in Berlin.