Global Design Thinking Week

An introduction to Design Thinking (for HPI students & external participants)

For the students and Ph.D.-candidates of the HPI as well as some external participants, the HPI School of Design Thinking offers two consecutive introductory courses 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.

Design Thinking is an innovative approach of thinking and doing to solve complex problems with a creative mindset. Methods and tools from the field of design as well as ethnography to understand the latent needs, desires and wishes of tomorrow's user, customers, human beings. This human-centered approach is combined with the perspective of technological feasibility (how can ideas be technically implemented?) and business viability (how can new business models look like?).

In 2019 we are offering three introductory courses: "Designing for Global Impact" (March), "Team(ed) Leadership (August) and "Human-Centered Design and Strategic Futures" (September)

"Designing for Global Impact" – The starting point of the GDTW in March 2019 is a Design Thinking challenge from a project partner from the business, social or non-profit sector. 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 prototyping and iterating are also addressed.

"Human-Centered Design and Strategic Futures" – The GDTW in September 2019 is focusing on the human-centered design and implementation of solutions. The starting point of this second introductory workshop week are promising business and product ideas. These ideas are further developed, designed and prototyped by making use of the iterative 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 solution ready to market in the context of the worlds of users.

The Design Thinking workshop weeks consists of five intense teamwork days. During this minds- and hands-on experience the participants will broaden their core competencies in critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. 

Our main area of interest is “Digital Transformation”. In our past Global Design Thinking Weeks we have for example been working with the Federal Association for Skilled Crafts (Zentralverband des Handwerks) and have developed innovative ideas to help Skilled Crafts Businesses to profit from the digitalization. And, with our partner institutions, Interhyp and ING Diba, we have been developing innovations for the workplace of the future as well as new digital business designs.

The next GDTW "Team(ed) Leadership will take place from 15-20 August, 2019. The GDTW "Human-Centered Design and Strategic Futures will take place from 12-18 September, 2019.

All information about the prerequisites for enrollment / admission, ECTS points etc. for participants from the HPI can be found here.

External participants are invited for application/participation as well. Interested external participants can apply via our online plattform until 30 June for the August GDTW and until 31 July for the September GDTW. Applications open in May 2019.

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