Prof. Dr. Falk Uebernickel

Global Team-Based Innovation (GTI)

Global Team-based Innovation (GTI) is a course mainly designated for master students of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI). In our course, students apply IT knowledge to engineer digital solutions for real business challenges provided by prominent global companies.

We follow the Design Thinking methodology to innovate on wicked problems given by our project partners. Within GTI, HPI students collaborate with students from other leading global universities: HPI is a partner in ME310 (for projects with the Stanford University) as well as part of the SUGAR network [for projects with other global universities, such as the University of St.Gallen (HSG)].

To get a glimpse of the inspiring atmosphere at one of the global events, watch one of our videos:

Information Sessions (Join us!)

If you are (or will become) a master student at HPI and you are thinking about participating in the 2023/2024 course, the teaching team will run two information sessions on Monday, July 3, 5  p.m. (online) and Thursday, August 17, 11.30 a.m.(online). Within the session the course is explained in detail and you will have the chance to meet former students and members of the teaching team. There will be also the chance to ask questions. Please write tt(at)gti-hpi.de to register for our 'Aquarium Session'. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

How to apply for GTI

Everyone who is or will become a master student at the HPI or the University of Potsdam with a background in IT, engineering, or business can apply for our program.

We have two application rounds, whereas the first round encouraged higher master semesters to apply and the second round is mainly directed at students of the first master semester. Please send your application latest July 9, 2023 for the first round and latest August 27, 2023 for the second round to tt(at)gti-hpi.de, including:

  • Your CV, plus interesting extracurricular activities, hobbies, etc.
  • Bachelor & Master Transcript of Records
  • A motivational statement (max. 10 sentences) that shows why you want to join the course

Please contact us, if you want to receive more information on our GTI program and the application process. We are looking forward getting to know you!

The course in a nutshell

Students from Potsdam and leading global partner universities tackle design innovation challenges posed by global corporations. The course is focused on the application of IT knowledge for engineering solutions to real business challenges. Further, we put emphasis on teaching students human-centered innovation methods and processes required for designers, engineers, and project managers of the future.

Within the projects, students go through an intense and iterative process of need finding, ideation, and rapid prototyping to create and evaluate new concepts. Company involvement provides the reality check necessary for teams to improve their innovation abilities. The team is supported by a professional coach, corporate liaisons, and faculty advisors.

Projects typically involve systems integration and include a mix of mechanical, electronic and software design. The results of all projects are real prototypes that have a user-centric design, are economically viable and technically feasible. For more information, watch the explanation of Prof. Larry Leifer on Tele Task.

Our HPI cohort of the GTI course in 2020/2021.

Team Structure

Each team consists of 6-8 globally distributed students (3-4 students in Potsdam and 3-4 students at the global partner university) who are required to stay in frequent dialog and have weekly meetings with their coaches and a regular status call with the corporate liaisons. Video conferencing systems and a dedicated project room are provided. The number of participants is limited by the team size.

The last cohort of the SUGAR network comprised out of more than 30 corporates and partner universities.

Corporate Partners

In the course, the student teams tackle open design challenges of real companies, which are operating in various industries including consumer electronics, automotive, telecommunications, healthcare, aeronautics, software, household products, transportation, and government.

A small excerpt of companies we have collaborated with in the GTI program.


Over the course of nine months, a multidisciplinary student team from at least two universities tackle an open design challenge posed by a corporate sponsor. With fresh minds, openness for crazy ideas and guided by a human-centered design process the student teams are well equipped to derive innovative solutions for their design challenge.

In addition to an exceptional learning experience, participants get the chance to work with market-leading corporations. At the end of each year, students present their solutions in booths at the EXPE Design Fair or EXPO.

Our project partner sponsor our travels and the prototyping budget. In exchange, they request the IP-rights of each member working on the project. However, in close communication with our partners, in the past we enabled that students were...

  1. ...part of corporate innovations and kept on working in the company,
  2. ...granted patents of their innovation on with their names.
  3. ...able to found their own Start-Up out of the project, usually granting our partner priority access to their innovation.
The GTI journey diverges to discover problems and converges to engineer solutions.

Participant Profile

We expect attending students to fully commit to their team and allow two days a week for this course. Candidates should present with in-depth technical knowledge, be passionate about the task at hand, and prepared to dedicate their creative energy to the team's success. Participation is only possible for master students.


  • 9-month course of extensive ideation, engineering, innovation, and user interaction.
  • Relevant design challenge from a leading company.
  • Self-reliant interdisciplinary teamwork partnering with a renowned university from around the world.
  • Intensive tutoring within a creative space in dedicated project rooms.
  • Budget for prototyping and traveling.


  • Individual participation during lectures, group meetings and in project work (20%)
  • Milestone presentations (20%)
  • Milestone documentations (20%)
  • Group project result (40%)

Past Projects

Students in earlier projects developed innovative solutions for insurance providers, reimagined the way how autonomous cars communicate through light for innovative car lighting and another student team even developed Swissify, a plattform for people moving to switzerland. Another team founded a start-up that emerged from our program - ViSENSE: In a project together with the BMW Group, the student team designed a remote error monitoring solution for error detection. Vimcar is Germany's lead fleet management software and counts as an established start-up with more than 250 employee. Vimcar is based in Berlin and had its roots in one of our projects.

Project challenges varied from innovative electrical toothbrushes to full-scale airports of the future. This sample of projects that emerged from the SUGAR network give you an idea about the topics we address.

Further Information