Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI



Beginning of Design Thinking Pilot Project "Wayfinder" from HPI and the Bundesagentur für Arbeit

No graduation now what? Many young drop-outs have a significantly lower chance of finding an internship or first job and are at a higher risk of unemployment. The Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) has developed the pilot project "Wayfinder," in cooperation with the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency), to encourage young people to discover new opportunities and occupational fields. At the start of the project, the Arbeitsagentur Berlin Nord and HPI invited some 3,000 young people without a training position to Berlin on 13 June 2019.

HPI Project Wayfinder
Working together for a better future – The Wayfinder project aims to help young people on their way into working life. (Photo: HPI / S. Schwertfeger)

Almost six percent of all young people leave school in Germany without a leaving certificate, and thus find it harder to gain a foothold in the labor market. Many see few prospects for the future and give up. The project "Wayfinder,"developed using the innovation method Design Thinking, is intended to strengthen the self-confidence of these young people in their abilities and to offer them an opportunity to get to know and try out job profiles.

Motivation as part of everyday life

A student team from the Advanced Track of the HPI School of Design Thinking developed the four-stage program in collaboration with the Bundesagentur für Arbeit and business partners. It supports the early school leavers for six to twelve months with an app that helps and motivates them in putting their goals into practice. The app is combined with existing "offline" offers from the Arbeitsagentur.

In the first part of the program, participants describe their current status and develop their vision of the future. The second phase, "Plan" is about getting to know the diverse career options available. The young people can then try out these options in companies in the third phase, "Do." The fourth phase, "Celebrate" serves to think through their options and further motivates the young people to stick to their ideas and plans.

On 13 June, 2019, HPI and the Agentur für Arbeit Berlin Nord invited around 3,000 young people without an apprenticeship to Berlin to try out the pilot project. Through workshops, face-to-face discussions with employment agency advisers, HPI coaches and companies, as well as virtual reality experiences, participants discovered their strengths, became familiar with new occupations (such as those in the IT industry) and received motivation to plan their professional career independently.

Digitization requires new approaches in education and training

"Significant changes in job profiles through digitization and automation will require new approaches to education and training in the coming years. With the "Wayfinder" pilot project, HPI wants to contribute by opening up new perspectives for young people and to better integrate them into the changing job market," says Professor Christoph Meinel, Institute Director and CEO of HPI.

Also, Christoph Möller, chairman of the Arbeitsagentur Berlin Nord, is familiar with the situation:  "In Berlin, the summer holidays are just around the corner and at the end of May around 9,600 young people were still here without perspective. Especially for young people, who are still undecided, the project offers a unique opportunity to recognize personal strengths and weaknesses and to try out local employers and thus supports the daily work of our career guidance in a unique way."

Images: Project the Wayfinder