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

HPI Kolloquium: "Can Design Thinking Save German Informatik from Itself"

Dr. Burton Lee (Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA)



Informatik in Germany today stands at a crossroads. As Germany and Europe face growing pressures around ‘Digitalisierung’, software, data, artificial intelligence and digital-centric business models and management culture, much of traditional Informatik seems increasingly unable to support this critical transition. A historically strong focus on logic, formal models, software verification and manufacturing-oriented applications, vs ‘Grand Challenges’ in automated reasoning, Big Data and equipment diagnostics, for example, has left much of Germany’s Informatik community dis-connected from cutting edge research and practice around the world. This (slightly provocative) talk will explore how Design Thinking might help Informatiker repurpose traditional Informatik through Reframing, Question-Asking, Needs Finding, and an increased focus on empathy, emotion, human-computer interaction and ‘Science Balancing’.

Short CV

Based in Silicon Valley, Dr. Burton Lee lectures and conducts research on European Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Stanford School of Engineering. During 2009-2010, he served as the sole non-Irish member of Ireland’s national Innovation Taskforce, appointed by Prime Minister Brian Cowen. Dr. Lee is a recognized expert on European and Silicon Valley innovation ecosystems who brings unconventional approaches to the development and assessment of innovation policy and economics. Dr. Lee's professional credentials span over 15 years of senior executive leadership and advisory positions with venture-backed startups, global technology corporations, venture capital and private equity firms, federal S&T agencies, state economic development offices, leading research universities, foreign governments and industry associations. His management and technical experience includes senior executive and research positions with Hewlett Packard, GE Global Research, DaimlerChrysler AG and NASA in the United States, Europe and Japan. Burton's research interests include Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), diagnostics, prognostics, maintenance and customer support for complex industrial systems; product design and development, including DfX, design-for-sustainability and - environment methodologies; artificial intelligence (Bayesian networks, ontologies, knowledge representation); aerospace systems; unmanned vehicles, robotics, electric transportation systems; open innovation in mechatronic systems; and innovation policy. Dr. Lee is Managing Partner of Innovarium Ventures, a strategic, financial and technical advisory services firm based in Silicon Valley. He also served as Principal and co-founder of Space Angels Network, a professionally managed national network of accredited investors focused on seed- and early-stage erospace-related ventures.

Host: Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel