e.valuate: The propelling power of “space” and “instruction”

PI: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel


Our 2009 experiment on Design Thinking performance yielded a surprising result: When confronted with a demanding design challenge, not only D-School trained teams, but untrained teams as well came up with solutions highly prized by the expert community. Of course, it was expected that D-School trained teams would perform well – but how come the untrained teams did such a great job too?

Two factors come to mind that were actually equal in both experimental conditions: All teams received the same (demanding, yet welcoming) instruction. Furthermore, all teams worked at the D-School. Maybe the factors “D-School space” and “design-challenge- instruction” already suffice to elicit a Design Thinking like work process that tends to end in most compelling results. This thought has been the starting point of two hook-up studies in 2010.

To test the hypotheses regarding space and instructions rigorously, in study I an academic community is being observed known for its reliable failures in interdisciplinary projects: Far from presenting common solutions (even bad ones), this community regularly fails to develop a common problem perception. An unbridgeable gap seems to separate the members of different disciplines. Here, Design Thinking might well be of help as it fosters a common, intuitive problem perception. Thus, study I examines how this particularly troubled academic community fares – if only people work at the D-School, under a design-challenge-type-instruction. In study II, scheduled for the first weekend in June, a classical experimental setup and fifty participants will allow additional, numerical estimates for the impact of “space” and “instruction”.


Christine Noweski

Christine has studied political science in Potsdam (Germany) and Bangalore (India) before she participated in the Design … > more

Justus Broß

Justus Bross, M.Sc. & MBE, 1979, is a doctoral candidate at the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Potsdam and the project … > more

Dr. Julia von Thienen

Julia von Thienen was born in Berlin. She studied psychology, neuroscience and philosophy at the Free University of Berlin. … > more

Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel

Christoph Meinel is President and CEO of the Hasso Plattner Institute for IT-Systems Engineering (HPI) and professor … > more