Twice a year, researchers of the HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Research Program meet to present to the community the status of their projects and to give each other impulses for further work. From May 18-20, 2020, for the first time in the 12-year history of the program, the exchange between the researchers from California and Potsdam took place in a purely virtual format. Instead of meeting on the lively campus at Stanford, the group came together in virtual space. In several parallel workshop sessions, sub-groups worked on the issues of the 16 currently funded projects, before all the results were presented in plenary sessions. Of high topicality was the session "Iterating Emergency Remote Teaching Experiences" by the Potsdam-based Desing Thinking at Scale team, which has been researching for several years on the effective communication of Design Thinking in online formats. The testing of Design Thinking in Social Virtual Reality by the team around Stanford Professor Jeremy Bailenson also offered exciting insights into the opportunities of this technology. Moreover, it provided plenty of starting points for Adjunct Professor Jonathan Edelman's HPI research team, which is on its way to identifying and evaluating design thinkers' gestures using machine learning. In a plenary session, guest speaker Prof. Bill Burnett, Co-Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford University, gave a condensed impulse in the spirit of his much iterated and adapted "Design Your Life" framework.
Professor Christoph Meinel and Professor Larry Leifer, co-directors of the program, emphasized in their introduction the importance of investing energy and creativity in new forms of community building. In this sense, the participants also spent the breaks between the sessions together in the video meeting, which also offered space for informal exchange, room to discuss ideas initiated in the workshops and spontaneous music performances. Also, on top of the exchange on current best practices and strategies in view of the current situation, there was also the opportunity to get to know new and more personal sides of the colleagues.