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27.02.2009

Potsdam/Palo Alto/Hanover. “Humanize IT” – this is the goal of the pioneering Innovation Lab being presented at CeBIT by the Hasso Plattner Institutes in Germany and California (Hall 9, Stand A01 on the Gallery). Each day the lab will use design thinking, a creative process to devising innovative solutions, to develop the original ideas for practical solutions to questions concerning “webciety”, IT security, green IT, e-learning, e-government and e-health. CeBIT visitors can participate in the 24-hour projects and learn how to develop fresh ideas for user-friendly products and services.

Webciety is the first theme on the agenda, with the HPI lab tackling the issue of work-life balance in the Internet age and asking “How might we reduce (social) stress of professionals working in an ‘always on’ society?” Among the researchers dealing with this question on March 3 will be HPI’s founder, Prof. Hasso Plattner, who has just published a new book on design thinking. On March 4 the focus will shift to IT security and protecting personal privacy. The question facing the lab that day will be “How might we help employees to protect their privacy in a corporate environment?

Green IT will be the topic on Thursday, March 5, when Innovation Lab participants will think up ways to reduce energy consumption, investigating the question: “How might we enable people to make use of Green IT solutions in their households?” The next theme, on Friday, March 6, is e-learning. The lab will be looking for new methods to promote digital communication in the classroom, answering the question “How might we integrate mobile devices in class?

On Saturday, March 7, the HPI Innovation Lab will focus on e-government, dealing with citizen empowerment. The question will be “How might we make people’s interaction with local authorities more successful?“ The series will conclude on Sunday, March 8, with the topic of e-health, with participants asking “How might we use computer games to enhance personal health?

Radical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines

“Our U.S. and German students and professors will be joining forces with visitors at the fair to work as one big creative, multidisciplinary team,” says the director of the Potsdam-based HPI, Prof. Christoph Meinel. “We will turn CeBIT into an opportunity for every visitor to experience innovation first-hand,” adds Prof. Ulrich Weinberg, who heads the HPI School of Design Thinking. By showing visitors that innovation can be taught and learned, the HPI hopes to capture the interest of businesses and public organizations, leading to collaboration on future projects.

The creative process will run around the clock and around the world – thanks to the presence of HPI’s sister institute in the United States. Anyone with Internet access will be able to follow the progress of the teams, made up of innovation specialists from HPI’s School of Design Thinking and their colleagues from the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University (also known as the d.school) in California’s Silicon Valley. Located at http://d-school-blog.hpi-web.de, the website will also allow viewers to comment on what they see.

The 300 m² Innovation Lab in the Gallery in Hall 9 makes the entire inventory of the HPI School of Design Thinking available so that specialists from a variety of disciplines can engage in radical collaboration in order to tackle the questions at hand. Portable whiteboards, rolling desks, red sofas on wheels, colorful cushioned stools, neon sticky notes and projectors will be waiting for the creative thinkers. Each of the small, multidisciplinary groups will go through a six-step process of understanding, observing, defining a point of view, inventing/visualizing, developing a prototype, and testing.

Taking care of the the next generation of world-class IT professionals

Also in Hall 9, but at booth B10, is a small bakery offering fresh-baked doughboys marked with the HPI logo ? a reminder that HPI shapes and produces the next generation of world-class IT professionals. Right next to the booth, the HPI will showcase its presence on iTunes U (http://itunes.hpi.uni-potsdam.de). The HPI podcasts available at this platform are a free and easy way for anyone to refresh their IT knowledge. “They help keep IT knowledge from stagnating,” says Prof. Christoph Meinel. The slogan behind the idea is “Move IT.”

The editors of www.it-gipfelblog.de, an HPI video blog, will also be at the fair, putting short video clips from interviews with prominent politicians, businesspeople and scientists on its Internet discussion board. The video blog has already had more than two million hits. 

For further information on the HPI School of Design Thinking please visit:
www.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/d-school .

For further information on the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford please visit:
www.stanford.edu/group/dschool

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