Design Thinking Basic Track application

Application for the Design Thinking Basic Track

The Design Thinking Basic Track program is open for students and graduates from all disciplines and universities. From the end of May until the end of July and from the end of November until the end of January you can apply for the upcoming semester. Applications for the winter semester 2023/24 will open in early June 2023.

If you don't want to miss the application period for the next semester, sign up for our application reminder and we will inform you via email once the application period starts.

To apply for the Basic Track, you need to upload all necessary documents including your CV, your confirmation of enrollment and your personal T-Profile on our application platform.


Design Thinking Basic Track application


The application process

After the application period for the winter semester of 2023/24 comes to and end, we will thoroughly screen all applications together with our coaching team. In the middle of August 2023, we will inform you about the status of your application.

For all accepted applicants we will also host an onboarding workshop in September 2023.

Important dates for applicants of the winter semester of 2023/24:

July 31st, 2023: Application deadline

Middle of August 2023: Announcement of the admission decision

Middle of October 2023: Start of the winter semester


Participants share their experiences


If you would like to hear more insights from our participants, watch our YouTube playlist!


Basic Track in the summer semester of 2023: Participation on-site or online

In the upcoming summer semester, we will offer the Design Thinking Basic Track in two formats: You can choose to participate on-site at the HPI D-School in Potsdam or experience the program in a virtual format.

Please tick in our application form whether you would like to participate on-site or online. This information is important so that we can plan the best learning experience for participants on-site or completely virtually. It also allows us to better match you in your Design Thinking teams.

The program takes place two days per week. It consists of live inputs from our program and coaching team and collaborative teamwork on-site or in the digital space, supported by interactive live coaching sessions. We use various digital tools for both formats, such as the virtual whiteboard "Miro" and our online learning platform "openHPI".

Our program team also creates an open culture of experimentation in the virtual space, promoting creative confidence (concept of psychological safety). The virtual format we offer can be conducted from any location. Please note that participants must be willing to actively participate during the day on the program days in the CET/CET time zone.

All participants will have access to our physical Design Thinking spaces, all of which are equipped with appropriate technology to work in a hybrid setting (part of the team on-site, part of the team remote/distributed). This results in an innovative hybrid format that defines the next step towards "new work". We want to allow all participants in our program to experience this new innovative form of collaboration.

Weekly structure of the Basic Track:

Weekly structure Basic Track
Click to enlarge

To successfully complete the Basic Track, you will need to invest approximately 16 hours per week (two full days): eight hours of mandatory program days, Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9:15 am to 2:30 pm, plus eight hours of asynchronous and synchronous teamwork time. We suggest that you schedule this teamwork time immediately after the program days, from 2:30 to 5:00 pm.

Please also check our FAQ.


General information about the Basic Track-Programm

All students in the Basic Track contribute a participation fee of 750 Euros, which helps the organization to offset the expenses of the program. For current HPI students, PhD candidates, and employees of HPI, the participation in the Basic Track program is free of charge.

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

Unfortunately, participation in the Basic Track program is not acknowledged as official educational leave by the state of Brandenburg.

Key information about the Basic Track program:

- Students can participate in either the summer or the winter semester

- The program follows the structure of the academic year

- All students begin with the Basic Track program

- Interested students may continue with the optional Advanced Track to further consolidate and enrich their knowledge and skills

- Participation in the Advanced Track is possible either directly after completion of the Basic Track or up to three semesters later

- Both Basic Track and Advanced Track require two full days of attendance per week

- Students work in small, multidisciplinary, international teams

- Students work closely with, and take advantage of mentorship from our large team of experienced coaches

- Projects are carried out in cooperation with partner organizations from business, politics and society

- After completing the program, graduates receive a HPI D-School certificate of attendance

- Students and alumni enjoy the benefits of the international HPI D-School network

You can find answers to frequently asked questions on our FAQ page.

What kind of applicants are we looking for?

We are looking for creative thinkers, so-called “T-shaped people.” These are people who are prepared to see the world and its inhabitants from new and different perspectives. Selected applicants get the unique opportunity to enter into an intensive exchange with engaged people from different cultures, universities, and areas of specialization. Through the open, motivated and experimentally creative collaboration of five to six students per team, students develop innovative solutions for real problems from business and society along with our organizational partners. We accept a maximum of 80 students in the Basic Track each semester.



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HPI School of Design Thinking

Tel.: +49 -331-5509-507

E-Mail an HPI D-School Office

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