[Translate to Englisch:] Wayfinder Self and Leadership Development

Wayfinder - Self and Leadership Development

Wayfinder is a newly developed program by HPI D-School that adds an essential perspective to the other program offerings in the area of Design Thinking: for self-leading and designing your own well-lived life and career.

Working in innovation teams requires flexibility, agility and, above all, empathy. Empathy, and thus empathic leadership, requires skills in self-awareness and self-leadership, and shaping one's own life as well as one's own career. We believe that a structured design process can help people to develop and grow. Such a process allows them to find out what they want and how to design a satisfying and successful life.

By applying and developing the methods of Design Thinking combined with fundamentals from systemic coaching and self-leadership, this program aims to learn and apply tools and techniques to improve self-awareness, recognize one's own behavioral patterns and values, reflect on and expand one's context of experience to make self-efficacy a reality in the future; building on this, to explore, prototype and test new options for a successful future. The program is based on the "Designing Your Life" Concept and has been extended and further developed by the HPI D-School.

Wayfinder has four major focus areas:

1. Empathy and Self-Awareness: Understanding one's own values and attitudes.

2. Exploring: Shaping career and personal life with purpose and energy.

3. Prototyping: Making good choices and exploring options.

4. Iterate: Learning forward in a strong network.

Within these four topic areas, we apply the following methods and tools together:

1. Awareness and meditation exercises, value code, activity analysis, energy-flow matrix, journaling, embodiment.

2. Coherence analysis, Hero's Journey, vision and strategy modeling with Lego Serious Play

3. Problem framing, brainstorming, decision heuristics, identification of new action patterns, experience and life prototyping

4. Future prototyping, resource and network analysis, strategies for change, networking


Learning and teaching format

Wayfinder takes place as a virtual format on four block dates each winter and summer semester. The program is hands-on, interactive, and combines various forms of learning:

  • Virtual live sessions with the group
  • Inspiring and short inputs on background information and research results
  • Virtual team sessions for elaboration and consolidation
  • Individual reflection tasks for preparation and post-processing
  • Meetings for exchange and discussion in small groups (between the face-to-face sessions)
  • Offer of individual coaching sessions by the coaches (virtual or on-site)



We use openHPI and Zoom as virtual platforms for our workshop design.

  • openHPI is our interactive online learning platform through which we provide most of the course content, videos, readings, discussion groups, etc.
  • Zoom is our virtual meeting place for the entire course during in-class hours.


Coaching Team

The program is delivered by Klaudia Thal (Systemic Coach, Design Thinking Coach, LSP Certified Trainer), Dr. Martin Schwemmle (Innovation Researcher, HPI School of Design Thinking) and Dr. Claudia Nicolai (Academic Director, HPI School of Design Thinking).


[Translate to Englisch:] Wayfinder Teilnehmende


Application for Wayfinder

The Wayfinder program is aimed at HPI students as well as participants of the Advanced Track of the HPI School of Design Thinking. The course is limited to 18 participants to allow for intensive exchange and reflection in small groups.

The application deadline for the Wayfinder program in the winter semester 2021/22 is October 24th, 2021. The virtual live sessions will take place on the following dates:

October 29th, 2021: Prep Work

November 11th, 2021: Wayfinder 1

December 3rd, 2021: Wayfinder 2

January 14th, 2022: Wayfinder 3

February 4th, 2022: Wayfinder 4

You can apply for Wayfinder in the winter semester 2021/22 via our online application platform.

For more information and the registration link, please visit the official website of the course.


Voices of our participants

"In the hustle and bustle and stress of a typical semester, the Wayfinder course provides space in your schedule every other Friday to take time for reflection and to talk with your trusted fellow Wayfinders. I looked forward to each and every session! Anyone facing a decision, needing some guidance to reflect, or just interested in the topic of self-development, I would recommend signing up for the course." – Julia Joch

"Wayfinder is a great program for curious people who want to make the most of their lives but don't know where to start. Together with other amazing people from the D-School ecosystem, you develop ideas and prototypes - for your future life!" – Carl Goedecken

"Thank you for the Wayfinder program over the past few weeks. Especially in this difficult decision-making phase at the end of my studies, it helped me a lot to think about my future in a structured way on fixed dates. Thank you for taking the time to offer such a seminar!" – Student winter semester 2020/21

"Wayfinder offered a great space for me to both reflect on myself and interact with others. The program equipped me with a variety of tools and methods to continue working on a clearer path for my future. By creating a safe space this course made it possible to also exchange and reflect plans with students and professionals from other disciplines, which gave me completely new perspectives. Honestly, I think I will benefit for a long time from the things I have learned and am grateful for the fact that such a course is even offered here." – Lars, participant in the summer semester 2021

"Wayfinder provides you a structured way of thinking about and planning your future. Particularly, it helped me gaining insights on my world view and moral values. Everyone should be aware of their world view and values: Wayfinder offers a guided and pleasing start for exploring them." – Chris, participant summer semester 2021

Video message from Wayfinder participant Immanuel Holtmannspötter:




Elisabeth Höpner

HPI School of Design Thinking
Program Coordinator

Tel.: +49 -331-5509-507

E-Mail an HPI D-School Office