Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

Basic Track Design Thinking (D-School) (Wintersemester 2023/2024)

Lecturer: Dr. Claudia Nicolai (D-School) , Maria Jose Juarez Rodriguez (D-School)

General Information

  • Weekly Hours: 6
  • Credits: 9
  • Graded: yes
  • Enrolment Deadline: 01.10.2023 - 31.10.2023
  • Teaching Form: Project / Seminar
  • Enrolment Type: Compulsory Elective Module
  • Course Language: English
  • Maximum number of participants: 60

Programs, Module Groups & Modules

IT-Systems Engineering BA
IT-Systems Engineering MA
Data Engineering MA
Digital Health MA
Cybersecurity MA
Software Systems Engineering MA
  • Professional Skills
    • HPI-PSK-DT Design Thinking


Design Thinking is a life-centered approach to purposefully design innovative solutions for complex problems with an impact. The innovative approach uses methods and tools to understand the latent needs and desires of tomorrow's customers (desirability). This human orientation is combined with the perspective of technological feasibility (how can ideas be technically realized?) and business sustainability (what can new business models look like?). The design thinking process combines methods and tools from design, social science, engineering, and business.


An innovative working environment and team culture characterize the design thinking mindset. The team-based approach relies on individual creativity and collaboration in diverse and interdisciplinary teams combining a wide range of expertise and knowledge. The complex problems that need to be solved in innovation management also require a different work culture created by an open space that can be flexibly adapted.


Our approach is based on problem-based learning. During the semester, we work on different problems in product and service innovation, business model design, and social innovation. In doing so, we go through the iterative Design Thinking process, which distinguishes between the phases Understand, Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test, several times in projects.


The projects vary in length; we start with a so-called Project 101, which runs for 3 weeks, followed by a so-called Partner Project, which runs for 8 weeks, for which we enlist up to six companies and non-profit organizations as project partners, who formulate a Design Challenge for the project work together with us. Together with our coaches and the support of our project partners, you as a project team will explore innovation potentials and develop creative concept ideas that are both radical and feasible. This intensive project work is followed by the documentation phase for the partner projects, which lasts 3 weeks.


During and between these projects, we conduct so-called Learning Journeys, in which we deepen methods of Design Thinking and theoretically reflect on the areas of Strategic Innovations, Innovation Management, Leadership, and Team Culture.


The course is co-designed and delivered by Angela Galeano Colonia, Thomas Grundnigg and Dr. Claudia Nicolai.