How can we make traffic in Potsdam more efficient, sustainable and comfortable? During our Global Design Thinking Week “Human-Centered Design and Strategic Futures”, which took place from 12-18 September at the HPI D-School, 50 participants from 17 countries developed ideas for the future of mobility in cities.
Just like many other cities, the capital of Brandenburg has a problem with congested traffic. For example, you can only reach the inner city of Potsdam via two bridges. Especially during rush hour, this leads to traffic jams and longer commute times.
During the Global Design Thinking Week our international Design Thinking teams developed innovative mobility concepts for the city of Potsdam that function in the near as well as the far future. The given design challenge encouraged them to find solutions that help reducing traffic and CO-2 emissions while at the same time increasing comfort for transport users.
Mobility in the city of the future
On the first two days of the workshop week, the teams conducted an in-depths research analysis on the topic of their design challenge. They analyzed data and surveys regarding the traffic situation in Potsdam and conducted interviews with experts. The students clustered the insights from this analysis and developed personas, typical users for whose problems we want to find a solution. After applying different brainstorming techniques, building prototypes and testing those prototypes with real users, the teams presented their solutions.
One team suggested that the city of Potsdam should support companies that offer the possibility of home office to their employees. Moreover, traffic during rush hours could be reduced by starting school one hour later or by employing school buses.
Many of the presented ideas showed alternatives to driving a car and gave impulses to make public transport more attractive. For example, it would be helpful for parents or wheelchair users if they could reserve space in buses or trams via an app.
Other teams presented ideas that are even more futuristic. Cities could develop multifunctional houses, they suggest, to reduce commutes and to make the inner cities largely car-free. In those houses, you would find offices and kindergartens as well as grocery stores.
The ideas presented by our Design Thinking teams are interesting impulses for the city of Potsdam to develop innovative and sustainable mobility concepts.
Support from an international coaching team
Additionally, the Global Design Thinking Week once more presented an opportunity for the international Design Thinking community to meet, exchange best practices and learn from each other. In the context of the Coaches Exchange Program of the Global Design Thinking Alliance (GDTA) coaches from the d.school Malaysia, the d-school Cape Town, Penn State University and the American University in Cairo traveled to Potsdam. The international coaching team accompanied ten Design Thinking teams during the course of the workshop week.
The next Global Design Thinking Week will take place in March 2020.
Photos: Anja Harnisch / HPI School of Design Thinking