Potsdam/Palo Alto. Scientific patron Professor Hasso Plattner has agreed together with Stanford University to establish a new institute in which scientists from various disciplines are to unite to develop user-friendly innovations. The co-founder and chairman of the supervisory board of SAP will donate 35 million US dollars to the establishment, which will be named "Hasso Plattner Institute of Design" and be affiliated with the "School of Engineering" of Stanford University in Silicon Valley. The festive inauguration took place on Monday, October 3.
"Through application of research and education, we want to ensure that thinking is more inventory within multidisciplinary teams. These project groups are to provide innovations with even higher benefits for mankind than previously, and solve urgent problems in businesses and society", explains Professor Hasso Plattner. The crux is the training of persons who are to incorporate a particularly high innovation potential into the draft and development processes.
In 1998, Germany's most significant private supporter of the sciences already founded an institute in Potsdam. The "Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering", which the donor has provided with more than 200 million euros over a period of 20 years, is to particularly profit from cooperation with the new Institute of Design in Stanford. For example, in addition to the exchange of students and scientists, an annual workshop is planned in Germany on the topic of Design Thinking. The link between Potsdam and Palo Alto should also enable renowned German companies to be involved in common international development projects. Modern distance learning techniques are to be applied to facilitate implementation of such projects on both sides of the Atlantic. Furthermore, the exchange of teaching material and other contents has been agreed upon.
"As a person supporting the development of state-of-the-art business process software, I know that design has to start with the user. One sets up shop at the customer to immerse oneself in their company culture and business processes. Only in this manner can developers gain a deep understanding of user requirements", said Plattner. He appealed to companies worldwide to become even more innovative through concentration on customer requirements. The institute in Palo Alto will serve to this end.
Notes for editors:
The "Hasso Plattner Institute of Design" builds on an institute at Stanford University previously named "d.school" (d for design). The institute will be headed - as was the "d.school" previously - by Professor David Kelley, the founder of the legendary design firm IDEO. The "d.school" has been holding several classes at Stanford University since 2003, in which students, professors and employees of private and public institutes have learned a new approach with extremely close multidisciplinary collaboration: experts from engineering, education, social sciences and business develop innovative products and services at the intersections of these disciplines. Solutions are found together for complex and urgent problems. For example, particularly low-cost and rugged LED lamps were developed for use in developing nations; these are charged by solar energy during the day and emit a bright light for a very long period at night. A spin-off company of the "d.school" has field-tested prototypes in India for a while already.
The "Hasso Plattner Institute of Design" in Silicon Valley is accommodated in the 4400-square-meter Peterson Building in the heart of the Stanford campus. The building will be completely remodeled to provide an open, flexible environment complying with the special demands for creative collaboration.
In Potsdam-Babelsberg, directly next to the Hasso-Plattner-Institute and film park, Professor Plattner is currently refurbishing a villa with a usable area of 5000 square meters. "HassoPlattnerVentures" will move in at the beginning of 2006. This is a commercial project started in June 2005 which combines a company incubator with a venture capital fund. In the founder center for IT companies in Potsdam, young founders of companies can "hatch" their software-based product ideas and make them ready for marketing under the guidance of experienced consultants and with the support of venture capital. Plattner has launched a fund for the project, and will contribute at least half of the total capital resources of more than 50 million euros. Further institutional investors can participate with at least five million euros each.