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19.09.2012

Potsdam. How companies can master the challenges of an ever faster changing world economy is one of the central topics of the d.confestival, which takes place from the 20th to the 22nd of September at the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) in Potsdam. Over 600 participants from 25 countries and 160 companies and institutions have registered to attend. In the forefront of the event is Design Thinking’s contribution as an innovation method and culture that inspires innovation processes and creates new, customized products and services. The program of the d.confestival, a mixture of conference and festival, encompasses more than 60 program points. Nearly 100 speakers from around the world will be present. The main sponsor is the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam.

“Design Thinking is already anchored in many company structures and processes and opens new thinking space in management, bringing together the creative and analytical side of the innovation process,” explains Prof. Ulrich Weinberg, Director of the HPI School of Design Thinking. In this way, innovation methods can play a part in developing new and sustainable growth potential.

"On this fifth birthday of the innovation school, the HPI offers the chance for Design Thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators from all over the world to meet together," says HPI Director Prof. Christoph Meinel. Business representatives can share their experiences and challenges in a rapidly changing, increasingly dense interconnected global economy. With the help of creative and innovative Design Thinking methods, cutting-edge solutions to complex problems can be developed.  

Besides lectures by internationally leading Design Thinking experts such as David Kelley, Hasso Plattner, Jim Hagemann Snabe, George Kembel, Christoph Meinel and Ulrich Weinberg, the two and a half day d.confestival offers unique insight into other management-specific aspects of Design Thinking: 

  • International management presentations address questions about how Design Thinking can be used and implemented in global companies. The presentations are divided into six key topic areas: Banking and Financial Services, Telecommunication, Mobility, Health, Trade and Logistics and Software.
  • Among the prestigious companies who will be sharing their insight in the practice of Design Thinking are: DekaBank, Deutsche Bank, Postfinance, Zürcher Kantonalbank, Deutsche Telekom, Singtel, Swisscom, BDL, BMW, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, VW, Charité, Janssen-Cilag, Siemens, DHL, Metro, Nestlé, Porsche and SAP. 
  • In special events, participants personally experience central elements of Design Thinking - whether it be developing a musical composition with the Potsdam Chamber Academy or interacting with an improvisational theater. Participants learn how creative work, lateral thinking and cooperation in a team lead to successful solutions.

Note to the editors: 

The opening events of the d.confestival can also be seen live on the Internet at the platform www.tele-task.de.

Photos and illustrations material relating to the d.confestival and Design Thinking can be found at http://www.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/presse/fotos/school_of_design_thinking.html 

Background Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a multidisciplinary approach in which products, services and concepts are developed for all areas of life. It combines creative thinking and work processes from design with methods from technology and business. The needs of the user are the central focus. This makes Design Thinking a forward-looking innovation method for solving complex problems in a creative and user-friendly way while considering economic viability and technical feasibility.

Design Thinking originated at Stanford University in California and has already inspired many start-ups in Silicon Valley. It encompasses a variety of methods and tools today that help in developing customer-oriented innovations. These are all based on the following principles: 

  • Versatile, innovative ideas are generated best in strong, multidisciplinary teams.
  • Inventive development thrives in a culture of open collaboration in a versatile working environment with a focus on flexibility.
  • Mistakes are an important part of the development process: concrete, preliminary results are more important than abstract perfection.

“If several people with different points of view and backgrounds come together, a new and better perspective develops. It is then no longer important whether someone is a good engineer or computer scientist – something completely new is created together,“ says Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP and founder of the Hasso-Plattner Institute.

Short profile of the Hasso Plattner Institute

Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering GmbH (HPI) in Potsdam (http://www.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/willkommen.html) is Germany’s university excellence center for IT-Systems Engineering. It is the only university institution in Germany offering bachelor and master programs in „IT-Systems Engineering“– a practical and engineering-oriented course of studies in computer science. Current enrollment is at approximately 460 students. The HPI School of Design Thinking is Europe’s first innovation school and based on the Stanford model of the d.school in Stanford (California). It provides 120 places for a supplementary study. Altogether there are ten HPI professors and over 50 guest professors, lecturers and contract teachers at the Institute. HPI carries out research noted for its excellence in its nine topic areas, as well as at the HPI Research School for PhD candidates, with research branches in Cape Town, Haifa and Nanjing. HPI teaching and research focuses on the foundation and application of large-scale, highly complex and interconnected IT systems. The development and exploration of user-driven innovations for all areas of life is an additional area of importance. HPI continually attains top positions in the CHE university ranking. Since September 2012 the Institute has offered an interactive Internet educational network that is open to everyone.

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