D-Finals at the HPI School of Design Thinking

Students present their final prototypes

Voices, last rehearsals, excitement is in the air. Time was up again: the winter term 2013/14 at the HPI School of Design Thinking came to an end.

At the end of January the Basic Track’s student teams pitched their six-week-projects in front of their project partners and fellow students. Whether it was a Harlem Shake, acrobatics or horror movie - also this semester the students gave their guests and fellows a hard choice on which of the team spaces they should go first.

The team spaces were transformed by the student teams in interactive exhibition spaces where they could not only present their final prototypes, but also discuss with the guests and receive feedback.

The six weeks projects ranged this semester from costumized career service for IT-students, matching platforms and parties for pro bono donors and receivers over to a toolkit for the creation of a student company. Together with the German health insurance AOK two teams developed prototypes for a higher participation on a rating platform for doctors. Other teams dealt with the issue of trust in the sale of used products and the acceptance of failure in a research institution. For the Computer Game Museum Berlin an expanded exhibition concept was designed with gamification approaches to appeal non-museum goers and pupils. Two other teams let the audience experience their prototypes on the topic of innovative spaces which they have created for the HPI’s Design Thinking Research Program.

One week later, the Advanced Track students who worked for 12 weeks twice a week on their challenges presented their prototypes to the project partners who arrived from all over Germany. Representatives from big companies like Siemens, the pharmaceutical company Janssen-Cilag , the publishing house Axel Springer but also from institutions such as the Berlin Senate Chancellery, the Protestant Church and the Vocational Training Center Oberlinhaus got inspired by Design Thinking. The wide range of challenges and prototypes showed also this semester how many possibilities Design Thinking offers.

This semester the challenges range from intelligent parking systems in large cities, the redesign of medical education, digital alternatives for analog media on board of airplanes to coherent and sustainable networking opportunities on international dialogue events. In the social field the student teams focused on the redesign of the inclusive vocational training experience for handicapped people and the empowering of local volunteers.   

With innovation, creativity and fun, the D- school students convinced their project partners so that both sides agreed that the intensive collaboration has paid off in any case.


During the following Friends & Family Day, many D-School students took the opportunity to invite their friends and family to the D-School and to show their final presentations. Because of their high innovative potential some projects partners requested to not show them to the public. Improvisation was needed and so the students took the participants on a user journey or talked about their personal experiences at the D-School. The full house and the high spirit made not only many students but also alumni realize that they are part of a very special Design Thinking community.