How (Digital) Design Thinking Creates Meaning for Individuals: A Quantitative Approach

PI: Dr. Claudia Nicolai, Prof. Ulrich Weinberg


The impact of Design Thinking (DT) is widely discussed, yet under-researched. In particular, research on DT impact is strongly dominated by an organizational perspective, but neglecting the individual. While prior work has discovered that DT exerts impact on the individual innovators and not only on organizations, so far, this impact has not been assessed in a quantitative way. In addition, there has been no substantial research taking into consideration the virtual context of doing Design Thinking. We aim to fill this gap by investigating the research question of: What is the quantitative impact of (digital) DT on the individual?

Answering this question, we collect existing scales from the literature and develop new scales to operationalize the theoretically-developed concept, which has been the outcome of the previous project year. We follow established scale development procedures to develop, calibrate, and then apply the scale to different organizations. We apply this new scale to collect data at several points in time at the HPI School of Design Thinking and a company partner to assess how Design Thinking trainings as interventions have an impact on the individual. In addition, we consider the context of digital DT education and its consequences for DT impact.


Martin Schwemmle, Selina Mayer