Prof. Dr. h.c. Hasso Plattner

Tools & Methods for Enterprise Systems Design and Engineering

In a business context, a designed product or service is often the most direct channel of communication to the end-user. A good or bad design has an undeniable impact on branding. In effect, design becomes a proxy for the company, where the feeling and emotions that an end-user experiences with what has been designed becomes the feelings and emotions that the end-user has for the company.

Human-Centered Software Design and Engineering


The purpose of design is to discover opportunities and deliver solutions to these opportunities that satisfy a viable business need, are technically feasible to build, and are desired by the targeted end-users. All three of these areas require equal attention to insure the greatest probability of success. In software, viability and feasibility are closely analyzed by marketing and engineering respectively, but desirability often does not receive adequate attention. Desirability is often equated with the term usability. What business value does usability provide to users and the enterprise? And how can usability’s quantitative value – both inside and outside the enterprise – provide a rationale for its adoption? To answer these questions, it’s crucial to have a holistic perspective on the business side of design and redesign, but also on design processes in general. A design-led software engineering process is a highly iterative process that emphasizes design thinking and a prototyping culture that values continuous end-user feedback and validation. Is there a difference between design and redesign? Ultimately, the distinction between design and redesign matters little for they both follow similar principles of iteration and continuous improvement. This notion of continuous improvement implies that 1) there are sources of feedback that inspire the innovations towards improvement and 2) design and redesign, a process by which improvements can be achieved, is by nature iterative and cyclical. In fact, all designs draw on inspirations from the designer’s experience. This experience is comprised of the designer’s cognitive perception and emotional feelings drawn from other designs, both natural and physical. Creativity, and thus innovation can be thought of as the ability to see new things in the permutations of aspects of things that already exist. This has led Larry Leifer, professor in the Design Division at Stanford University, to claim that “all design is redesign.”

Current Research


Current research activities involve the investigation of:

  • Design communication
  • Global collaboration
  • And how design communities can be effectively supported with means of IT.

The focus is on best practices for the organization, sharing, and dissemination of knowledge in multi-disciplinary design projects.