Advanced Track

The Design Thinking Advanced Track program offers up to 30 participants per semester to continue their learning experience at the HPI School of Design Thinking. The program's students complete their one-year education as Design Thinking and human-centered-innovation specialists.

The program participants use their acquired Design Thinking mindset to develop a mainly self-directed, 16-week project supported by a diverse and highly experienced team of coaches. Each project team collaborates closely with a partner (within the private, public, or social sector), tackling complex, often organizational-related challenges while expanding their theoretical and practical skills and toolset.

Students learn to:

- scope a project based on strategic opportunities and scenarios

- structure, guide, and dissect intense teamwork throughout the entire project duration

- use systems mapping as a foundation to understand complexity and deal with ambiguity

- engage experts and a multitude of stakeholders relevant to their challenge with advanced qualitative research and co-creation approaches

- improve the quality and determination of their physical and digital prototypes

- project the strategic and economic value of their project onto roadmaps and implementation plans for the respective partner organization

All Advanced Track students already have diverse experiences applying our Design Thinking approach and mindset while bringing their disciplinary and professional expertise into a new partner project.

Each student has the opportunity to select their top three project challenges. The HPI D-School program team then assembles the teams based on our criteria for diversity, including gender, disciplinary background, and nationality.

The project framework allows each team to work exclusively on one design challenge for 16 weeks. Thus, the Advanced Track enhances each team's self-directedness and agency to complete a project that goes through four major milestones:

(1) You enter the partner kick-off meeting prepared with your directed questions and visually and interactively designed materials representing your understanding of the challenge.

(2) During the first interim presentation at the end of the "Inspiration Phase," you will present three to five strategic fields of opportunity, each illustrated through compelling human stories and validated through an array of quick, tangible prototypes hinting at different possible directions.

(3) After engaging productively and creatively with several of your stakeholders in the "Co-Design Phase," you will gain an even deeper understanding of the most relevant fields of opportunity and develop functional prototypes as suggested solutions, which you will present with your project partners on stage.

(4) As a culmination point after the "Implementation for Impact Phase," the final presentation will be your stage to present your tested, iterated, high-resolution prototypes and recommendations for the strategic implementation of the solution within the organization.

The Advanced Track program emphasizes shared leadership, self-directed and experiential learning, community-building, and proactive participation for mutual inspiration. It offers strong synergies between program leads, coaches, mentors, participants, notable contributors, influential advisors, and our extensive network of organizational partners. We encourage everyone to exchange knowledge to generate a unique, hands-on learning environment full of innovation potential reaching far beyond the walls of the HPI D-School.




Application for the Advanced Track

The Application to the Advanced Track is open exclusively to recent graduates of the Design Thinking basic and short programs at the HPI D-School and our partner schools in Malaysia, South Africa, China, and Sweden, as well as graduates of the HPI GTI (ME310/SUGAR) program. In addition, HPI students can apply directly for the Advanced Track after completing two Global Design Thinking Workshops at the HPI D-School.

If you have completed one of the above-mentioned Design Thinking programs, you are eligible to apply for the next Advanced Track.

Applications for the Advanced Track are open twice a year.

For the summer term, our online application platform opens in the middle of November. After registering on the platform, the submission deadline for all required documents is January 31st.

For the winter term, our online application platform opens in the middle of May. After registering on the platform, the submission deadline for all required documents is July 31st.

The Advanced Track in the winter term 2023/24 will take place on-site at the D-School in Potsdam.

Apply now for the Advanced Design Thinking program in the winter semester 2023/2024! The application deadline is August 14th, 2023. Click here to go to the application platform.

On the Hasso Plattner Institute website you can find further information about the course.

The Design Thinking Advanced Track is an official certificate study program of the University of Potsdam.


HPI School of Design Thinking

Tel.: +49 -331-5509-507

E-Mail to HPI D-School Office