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

D-School Global Design Thinking Workshop (Wintersemester 2021/2022)

Dozent: Dr. Claudia Nicolai (D-School) , Sherif Osman (D-School)
Website zum Kurs: https://hpi.de/en/school-of-design-thinking/for-students/global-design-thinking-workshop.html

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 2
  • ECTS: 3
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 01.10.2021 - 31.01.2022
  • Lehrform: Seminar / P (Block)
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Englisch
  • Maximale Teilnehmerzahl: 40

Studiengänge, Modulgruppen & Module

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


Global Design Thinking Workshops (GDTW) are a novel concept that goes beyond the mere introduction to Design Thinking as a process. We have been creating this format as deep dives into the strategic questions of Design Thinking as a mindset and we are offering this course to HPI students and external participants. In this program, participants experience Design Thinking not only as a process of this life-centered approach by dealing with complex innovation problems and a creative mindset in diverse teams. We combine this life-centered approach with the perspective of technological feasibility (how can ideas be realized?) and economic viability (how can new business models look like?). In our GDTW program we offer three different workshops with a respective focus topic, which we deepen into:

  • 01 Strategic Design: From Human-Centered Design to Strategic Futures
  • 02 Designing for Global Impact
  • 03 Teamed Leadership

We combine the work on a concrete innovation project with reflections on a specific topic. Our learning approach is based on the concept of problem-based experiential learning. We implement this approach as a project-oriented course in which the participants collaborate with a partner organization (NPOs and NGOs, large companies, SMEs, young start-ups, social organizations and public institutions).

This program is co-designed by Dr. Claudia Nicolai and Sherif Osman. If you have any questions about the course and the contents, please contact Dr. Claudia Nicolai (Claudia.Nicolai(at)hpi.de).

You can download the full course description here.


Deep Dive into Design Thinking – Design for Global Impact

In March 2022 we will offer our Global Design Thinking Workshop as Deep Dive into Design Thinking: Design for Global Impact.

During this special Global Design Thinking Workshop, we will focus on designing human-centered innovations while incorporating system-level change: "Designing for Global Impact". This means that you will work with a project partner in diverse and international teams on a specific design challenge. While learning about systems change and how to participate in change processes, you will also experience the process and mindset of design thinking as you design solutions to a global problem and work with our international coaching team on how this can be translated into different contexts to create impact.

In this workshop, we would like to address a key design principle of Design Thinking: how to achieve sustainable impact at the system level with innovation. When it comes to designing new and innovative solutions to complex problems like policy design and citizen participation, we face two challenges: On the one hand, it is about focusing on the needs and requirements of people in the context of their lives (human-centered perspective). Why do they (not) participate in local processes? What do they see as relevant problems? How would they like to make their voice heard? On the other hand, it is about finding opportunities for sustainable impact (systems perspective). How can we connect the different stakeholders? How do we create open discourse culture at the local level, especially in the context of local parties and activities within them?

So we are concerned with the interplay of connecting a global problem with meaningful impact at the local level. This is our approach to GDTW Designing for Global Impact, where we combine design thinking from a life-centered perspective in combination of human-centeredness and systems thinking. You will also experience in this workshop that Design Thinking can be applied to the design of social problems and innovations in the public space.


What makes the format global?

The Content

We will be using a problem-based learning approach and tap into a real-world problem with a systems perspective. And we will work together with an international project partner.


The Program Team

We design our GDTW program with our international network of Design Thinking Coaches and cooperate regularly with partner institutions from our global network, which also gave rise to the GDTA (Global Design Thinking Alliance). Participants have the opportunity to benefit from the experience and exchange with colleagues from other design thinking institutions in the USA, South Africa, Sweden, Malaysia, Mexico and Egypt.


The participants

In addition to HPI students, we particularly invite international participants to apply. In this program, they form diverse multidisciplinary teams that work together with a team coach and a project partner on a real-life problem.



Application / Admission for HPI-Students:

Please register for the course „Global Design Thinking Workshop (GDTW)“ via the Studienreferat bindingly until 31.01.2022 via email tostudienreferat(at)hpi.de


For each GDTW course, participants receive 3 ECTS (graded), so that participation in two events results in a module worth 6 ECTS.

We recommend taking this course as:

  • Students in any Master's program: any semester
  • Students in any Bachelor's program: 3rd - 6th semester

Application for External Students:

External students will have to apply for participation until 31.01.2022 via a separate application platform of the HPI D-School. The application is open now for external students ! Please apply here!

Participation fee for external students is 200 €.



You can watch our video introduction to Design Thinking here.


We recommend the following resources to get a first overview of Design Thinking as a concept.

  • Beckmann, S.L. & Barry, M. (2007): Innovation as a Learning Process: Embedding Design Thinking, California Management Review, 50 (1): 25-56.
  • Brown, T. (2008): Design Thinking, Harvard Business Review, 86 (June): 84-92.
  • Kelley, T. & Kelley, D. (2012): Reclaim Your Creative Confidence, Harvard Business Review, 90 (December): 1-5.


And if you already want to learn more about Design Thinking, we recommend our openHPI-course Beyond Brockhaus Thinking: With Design Thinking to a Networked Culture.


Lern- und Lehrformen

New Virtual Learning Experience

This is not a typical online course. This is digital and remote teamwork. We are talking about interactive, virtual collaboration throughout the workshop and, of course, in the teams whose team members and their international coaches will be in different locations. In this course we focus on collaborative forms of learning: During this workshop you will work hand in hand with an international team (max. 5 people including yourself) and a coach who will accompany you. This is a unique opportunity to learn from and with students with different backgrounds and ways of thinking, from other cities and countries, accompanied by one of our highly experienced Design Thinking coaches.

You can participate in our format from anywhere. You will need a stable internet connection, a terminal device, headphones and a microphone.

This format is also a hybrid format. It means that you can perform a large part of your teamwork virtually. It also involves other forms of interaction, for example "local observations & tests"; either in Berlin, Potsdam or the place where you are currently living / working. You will have to interview people (virtually) or even test your ideas with them.

If part of your team is located in Berlin or Potsdam, you can use our facilities to work in a hybrid environment. We offer you the opportunity to use our Design Thinking Studios at the HPI D-School in Potsdam. These rooms offer you a variety of digital equipment, analog materials and inspiration to think, prototype and test your ideas.


Our Learning Approach

Overall, we offer you a multilayered learning experience. This means that you work with your team and, at the same time, we have cross sharing experiences amongst the teams and we will co-design the content with other international players in the field of strategic design including:  

  • Thematic discourse/discussions about strategic design in the entire group
  • Live coaching and teamwork sessions with your individual team coach
  • Exchange and collaboration with other design thinking teams
  • Inspiring inputs and short presentations
  • Individual reflection on content and your own learning experience

Our Participants:

  • will learn methods of Design Thinking as well as its mind-set,
  • will be enabled to use methods of Design Thinking to formulate comprehensible, innovative and linkages between problem and solution spaces,
  • are able to unfold creativity and develop creative ideas up to first prototypical solutions,
  • learn how to work independently on complex innovation issues in teamwork,
  • acquire competencies in the ability to deal with conflicts in teams
  • expand their skills in presenting technical content and solutions in front of an audience,
  • are given the opportunity for self-reflection and teamwork
  • will explore new forms of collaboration in the digital and hybrid sphere.


Our Learning Tools:

We use three virtual platforms for our workshop design: openHPI, miro, and bbb/zoom.

  • openhpiwill be our interactive online learning platform through which we will make most of the course content, videos, reading, discussion groups, etc. available.
  • miro will be our digital workspace and collaboration tool for teamwork
  • bbb or zoom will be our virtual meeting point for the entire course and the individual teams.



Prerequisites for obtaining graded ECTS are:

  • Attendance and regular participation on program days
  • Active participation in your project team (also between program days)


Achievement of graded ECTS consists of:

  • Presentation of the partner project (20%).
  • Summary of the project results of the project in a project documentation (approx. 30 - 40 pages) including a detailed description of the prototype (80 %)

The delivery and submission is done together in the project team.



This mostly virtual and interactive course will be held in March 2022. The time required for active participation in this course is approximately 50 - 60 hours in March 2022. There are times that are obligatory for everyone and there are times for flexible teamwork. In the following overview you will find the basic structure. The time required for active participation in this course is approximately 50 - 60 hours in March 2022. There are times that are obligatory for everyone and there are times for flexible teamwork. In the following overview you will find the basic structure.


Our program includes the fixed times for working together in the program (34 hours):

  • Tuesday 1.3.2022: 9.30 – 11.30 am CET (2 hours)
  • Monday/Tuesday 7./8.3.2022: 9.30 am- 3.30 pm CET (10 hours)
  • Monday/Tuesday 14./15.3.2022: 9.30 am- 3.30 pm CET (10 hours)
  • Monday/Tuesday 21./22.3.2022: 9.30 am- 3.30 pm CET (10 hours)
  • Tuesday 29.3.2022: 9.30 – 11.30 CET (2 hours) 


We also expect flexible individual and team work between and after program days. This will include in total 16 – 20 hours: for Design-Led Research, Prototyping and Testing, and in particular Creating your project documentation.


The project documentation of approx. 40 pages of each team will be submitted on 31.3.2022.