Julia von Thienen

Julia von Thienen was born in Berlin. She studied psychology, neuroscience and philosophy at the Free University of Berlin. Her PhD work on causation also bridged these fields. Julia has taught research methodology and philosophy of science for social science students and neuroscientists at the Free University of Berlin, the University of Chicago and the University of Potsdam.

In 2008 Julia joined the Hasso Plattner Institute, specifically the Stanford-Potsdam Design Thinking Research Program. Julia`s studies are concerned with design thinking as an approach to creativity and innovation. Together with her colleagues, she invokes several research perspectives to elucidate why and how design thinking works, in scientific terms. Some insights gleaned over the years are shared in the lecture Why and How Design Thinking Works as well as in the course Design Thinking for Digital Engineering.

Research Approaches:

  • By means of empirical studies, typically with randomized experiments, the impact of the “3 Design Thinking Pillars” or “3P” is investigated: Creative Processes, People and Places.
  • Theories on creativity and innovation from various disciplines are drawn together and compared to design thinking practices.
  • Processes of culture development are modelled, based on creative activity and innovation adoption rates in populations.
  • Studies into design thinking history elucidate theoretical beliefs and concepts that inform design thinking practices today.
  • Design thinking is practically applied to advance human-centred innovation. Specifically, the medical documentation system Tele-Board MED is developed to promote doctor-patient-teamwork at eye-level, and to help medical practitioners as well as patients benefit from new digital opportunities.
  • Design thinking education is a subject of practical developments and research, including face-to-face education and online teaching.
  • Based on innovation theory and empirical research results, new tools are developed for design thinking.
  • Successful design thinking practices are introduced in other work areas to facilitate collaboration and innovation in these fields.
  • One domain of specific attention is the biological basis of creativity and innovation. Recently, this work is part of the initiative to advance the new field of neurodesign.
  • Another recent field of attention is the political environment of countries or continents as a “large-scale place factor” to impact innovation rates and innovation types.

Sample publications regarding these research approaches and a full list of publications can be found at Julia’s homepage.



PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract The project team e.valuate wants to further pursue its investigation into the … > mehr


PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract Our 2009 experiment on Design Thinking performance yielded a surprising result: … > mehr

From Prototypes to Innovation

PI: Prof. Christoph Meinel Abstract For companies, the incorporation of Design Thinking as part of the innovation process … > mehr

Tele-Board for Medicine

PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract Even a person who is commonly very autonomous may experience states of great … > mehr

Tele-BoardMED: Engaging Design Thinkers and Psychotherapists in Mutual Learning

PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract Tele-Board MED is a software that helps patient and doctor create and use … > mehr

Tele-Board MED: Assessing Interactions and Character Choice in Teams with a Machine Team Member

PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract The project Tele-Board MED brings design thinking work equipment into medical … > mehr

Tele-Board MED: Supporting Patient Progress with (Meta) Data Analytics (HPI)

PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract Tele-Board MED is a digital documentation system that allows doctors and … > mehr

Redesigning the MEDICAL REPORT experience: Probing Design Thinking on High-Stake Tasks In Bureaucratic, Hierarchical Organizations

PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract Medical reports summarize diagnoses of patients, treatments and outcomes. They … > mehr

Design Thinking Medical Record Data: Addressing Innovation Barriers to Doctor-Patient Teamwork

PI: Professor Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract This joint proposal explores the use of Tele-Board MED (TBM) to enable … > mehr

Remote Care with Tele-Board MED

PI: Professor Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract While people get ill everywhere, medical expertise is often concentrated … > mehr

Fostering Design Thinking Education

PI: Professor Dr. Christoph Meinel Abstract After adapting and conducting several design thinking Massive Open … > mehr

Implementing and Evaluating InnoDev in practice

PI: Dr. Matthias Uflacker Abstract While research and practitioners agree that Design Thinking, Agile Development and … > mehr

Connecting the dots – Planning, measuring and steering the impact of human-centered design and Design Thinking in organizations

PI: Professor Dr. Falk Uebernickel Abstract Over the last years, the role of design in organizations expanded from a … > mehr

Innovation Modelling Based on Human Needs

PI: Julia von Thienen Abstract Human needs are a cornerstone of design thinking. The ability to identify and address … > mehr

Augmented Coaching with Performative Patterns

PI: Dr. Jonathan Antonio Edelman, Prof. Dr. Christoph Lippert Abstract What are the ways an enterprise sports coaching … > mehr

Making Design Thinking Accessible to Blind and Visually Impaired People

PI: Prof. Sean Follmer Abstract Design thinking leverages spatial and visual diagramming as a central component for both … > mehr

Measuring the Impact of Project-Based Design Engineering Courses on Entrepreneurial Interests and Intentions of Alumni

PI: Prof. Sheri Sheppard Abstract For over half a century, ME310: Project-Based Engineering Design Innovation & … > mehr

Examining the neural basis of applied creativity in entrepreneurs

PI: Dr. Manish Saggar Abstract Creativity and innovation lie at the heart of design thinking. Understanding how … > mehr

Artistic Vision: Providing Contextual Photography Guidance for Rapid In-Camera Iteration

PI: Prof. Dr. James A. Landay Abstract Designers have long known the benefits of iteration and rapid prototyping. Many … > mehr

Psychology of Design

PI: Dr. Larry Leifer Abstract Design Thinking has been related to team environments, which are inherently argumentative, … > mehr

Re-DNA: Re-designing nonverbal actions for design team collaborations

PI: Prof. Dr. Michael Shanks Abstract Ironically, platforms that remote design teams use to collaborate often beget … > mehr

Visual Diagnostics for Design Thinking Teams Using Virtual Reality

PI: Prof. Dr. Jeremy Bailenson Abstract Virtual Reality technology holds the promise to become an arena for design … > mehr

Measuring the Transfer of Design Practice from Educational Environments to Applied Environments

PI: Dr. Daniel Schwartz Abstract This proposal outlines two studies that will develop a measure that assesses how well an … > mehr

Stylo Guide: Supporting Consistency in Design Teams

PI: Prof. Dr. Michael Bernstein, Camille Utterback Abstract As the design thinking process for an idea matures from … > mehr