Global Design Thinking Weeks

An introduction to Design Thinking (for HPI students)

For the students of the HPI as well as some external participants, the HPI School of Design Thinking offers two consecutive introductory events in Design Thinking, the "Global Design Thinking Weeks (GDTW)" during summer and winter. These introductory courses focus on different aspects of the Design Thinking approach. Multidisciplinary teams are working together with a project partner on a real design challenge. We organize the GDTW with partner universities and institutions from our global network. Students and alumni of the HPI have the opportunity to exchange experiences with colleagues from the international d-schools in the United States (Stanford University), South Africa (University of Cape Town), Malaysia (Genovasi) and China (CUC Beijing) and to learn how other use Design Thinking in practice.

The innovative mindset of Design Thinking uses methods and tools from the field of design as well as ethnography to understand the latent needs, desires and wishes of tomorrow's customers. This human-centered approach is combined with the perspective of technological feasibility (how can ideas be technically implemented?) and economic sustainability (how can new business models look like?).

We are offering two introductory courses: "From Inspiration to Ideas" (March) and "Bring Ideas to Life" (September).

"From Inspiration to Ideas" – The starting point of the GDTW in March is a Design Thinking challenge from a project partner with an entrepreneurial and/or social concern. We are focusing on empathy: to better understand users’ in their context and to explore and identify their latent needs, requirements and wishes. As a start, potential fields of opportunity are identified and described from a user perspective. Designing and testing new ideas and solutions through prototypes are also addressed.

"Bring Ideas to Life" – The GDTW in September is focusing on the user-centered design of solutions. The starting point for the second introductory course are innovative business and product ideas. These are developed further along the Design Thinking process in order to create new solutions and innovative user scenarios in the next step. The focus here is on the "design doing": the aim is to design suitable applications in the context of the worlds of users.

In a week with five teamwork days, the students get to know the core competences for working in innovative and creative environments. The so-called "challenge" is developed together with an external project partner, just like in the semester program of the HPI School of Design Thinking.

The concrete question will be announced prior to the workshop. Challenges and project partners in the past semesters were among others: "Innovation Networks" (Telekom), "Creating Innovation Hubs" (Factory Berlin), "Financial Advice" (ING Diba).

This year, we dealt with the subject of "digital transformation". Together with our project partner Zentralverband des deutschen Handwerks, we were looking for innovations for skilled craft businesses in the context of digital transformation.

The next GDTW "From Inspiration to Ideas" will take place in March 2018. All information about the prerequisites for enrollment / admission, ECTS points etc. can be found here (in German). External applicants should send an email to office-dschool(at) for further inquiries about the application process.

More Information


Elisabeth Höpner

HPI School of Design Thinking
Program Coordinator

Phone: +49 -331-5509-507
Fax: +49 -331-5509-589

E-Mail an HPI D-School Office

Related Information

Design Thinking Projects

Open Course