Design Thinking is the new form of innovative collaboration and creative thinking. In recent years, Design Thinking has gotten its fair share of hype. But questions remain about what form does this innovative collaboration take, and what can the concept accomplish?

Design Thinking is a concept aimed at a systematic approach to complex problems as well as a process to promote innovative ideas. It uses the approach of designers, who first deal with the problem area and work in a strongly user-oriented way.

At the core of the Design Thinking process are the user's needs, which are present in each step of the invention process. Therefore, during the process, the feedback is directed to the designer from the target group. This feedback enables the prototype to be developed and tested early on.

Design Thinking: Make mistakes and learn from them

Including multidisciplinary team creation, a successful design thinking methodology requires three elements. The second element is the method itself, which consists of six stages with iterative loops. Making mistakes is an important occurrence and often leads to further development of the project. The phases that each team goes through combines the intuitive process of the designer with engineering methodology.

And what does the Design Thinking process look like?

Innovation as the objective of design thinking combines three components: technology (feasibility), economy (marketability), and humankind (desirability), with the latter as the starting point for the design thinking process.  Before the creative process can begin, a multidisciplinary team must be set up. Members of multiple disciplines collaborate to establish a wide range of perspectives. Coaches help by observing, supporting and motivating the group from the outside.

Design thinkers are guided by the following phases:

  • Understanding and observing
  • Defining a viewpoint
  • Finding ideas
  • Developing prototypes
  • Testing on target groups

The third and final element is a flexible working space. To facilitate optimized Design Thinking, it takes a room equipped to cater for the needs of creative thinkers.



Design Thinking - what creative possibilities does this innovative work-method offer?
Try it out in our workshop "Design Thinking: Compact and Creative": During one evening, you will receive a high-level overview of the method and its possible applications. The workshop is open to all who are interested. We can also schedule a workshop for a closed group.


Get to know the Design Thinking Method
Apply, test, and moderate the methods during case studies
Reflection and evaluation of each step
Recommendations and tips for a successful implementation

At the conclusion of the course, you will receive a certificate from the NIT


Moritz Avenarius, Zukunftslotse Hamburg

Time Frame:
One evening from 18 to 21

Design Thinking Space at the NIT, Hamburg

Price on request

workshops hamburg


How does Design Thinking work? How can these innovative methods move the processes of a company forward? This is what many entrepreneurs, team managers, and change leaders ask themselves.
Find answers to these questions through a one day workshop "Design Thinking: Learn and Apply" from the NIT. In a short time, you will learn how to implement the methods and success factors of Design Thinking. The workshop is suitable for a closed event for a company, or for an open group.


  • Get to know the Design Thinking Method
  • Apply, test, and moderate the methods during case studies
  • Reflection and evaluation of each step
  • Tips for a successful implementation and presentation

At the conclusion of the course, you will receive a certificate from the NIT


Moritz Avenarius, Zukunftslotse Hamburg

Time Frame:
One day from 9 to 17

Design Thinking Space at the NIT, Hamburg

Price on request


During our workshop "Design Thinking: How to Apply and Moderate" get to know how to use and lead the Design Thinking method and its practical applications.
In two intensive days, we invite project leaders, UX managers, innovation managers, and change leaders to apply various moderation methods and to try the creative process. Through this process, the innovative Design Thinking space of the NIT offers plenty of free space for the creative methods and group work. As a result of the workshop, participants are able to accompany and implement the Design Thinking process on their own.

Content Details:

  • Get to know the Design Thinking Method
  • Learn the foundations of moderation techniques and their application for a successful execution of the Design thinking process:
  • Active listening
  • Methodology
  • The three steps of moderation
  • To apply, test, and moderate the methods during case studies
  • Reflection and evaluation of each step in a group setting, and gaining further tips on implementation
  • Learn the foundation of visualization tips to accompany the Design Thinking process

At the conclusion of the course, you will receive a certificate from the NIT

Time Frame:
Two Days from 9 to 17

Marie Urhahn, Consensa
Moritz Avenarius, Zukunftslotse Hamburg

Location: Design Thinking Space at the NIT, Hamburg

Price on request


Would you like to develop and try out innovative ideas and concepts? With Design Thinking you will learn to rethink and discover new ways. In addition to our various Design Thinking workshops, the NIT now offers an intensive 6 week module to foster the development of innovations.


Moritz Avenarius

Moritz Avenarius is an independent systemic innovation consultant for analogue change processes in the digital future.

He organizing and moderating workshops on Design Thinking and Lego Serious Play. Before he worked as a strategy consultant.

Prof. Dr. Christoph Ihl

Academic Director TUHH Startup Dock, Professor and Head of Department, Institute of Entrepreneurship, Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg.

Teaches in our Technology Management Master's Program: Business Planning, Corporate Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Finance

Design Thinking - An Interview with Prof. Ihl:

Shift perspectives, work creatively, think differently. Design Thinking delivers all of these. With this innovative method users solve problems from the users’ viewpoint. The aim is to develop and test ideas and prototypes faster. Trying out new ideas and making mistakes in the process is explicitly encouraged.

Design Thinking was developed by David Kelley, founder of the well-known Silicon Valley design agency IDEO. His method is based on the systematic approach of designers who focus on the users’ needs. In six phases teams of developers analyze problems and test ideas. There is constant feedback between developer and target group. Working in multidisciplinary teams and using unusual materials such as Lego bricks ensure a dynamic working method.

In recent years Design Thinking has triggered an outright hype. Professor Christoph Ihl, Design Thinking trainer at the NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management, explains why.


What is new about Design Thinking, Professor Ihl?

Design Thinking is not really all that new. It originated in architecture and urban planning in the 1980s. In the 1990s the method was popularized mainly in the corporate IT and business context by Stanford University and the design agency IDEO. In today’s era of digitization, business model innovation and startups, Design Thinking continues to gain in importance in connection with other method such as lean startups and agile development. What is new is the open, interdisciplinary, communicative, and empathetic way in which it approaches problems and their solution.


What added value does Design Thinking offer entrepreneurs and for whom is the method suitable?

Design Thinking enables entrepreneurs to structure problems in a targeted way in different areas of business and to devise solutions systematically from the user’s perspective. The added value consists of focusing on user acceptance from the start when working on potential solutions. In practice, solutions come a cropper on user acceptance much more frequently than on technical barriers. The method is outstandingly suitable for temporary project teams dealing with a specific problem in which uncertainties about user acceptance play a major role.


In Design Thinking, developers work in very short cycles. Why does that make sense?

At the outset of a project there is usually a great deal of uncertainty about which kind of solution the actors involved will accept. This uncertainty can relate to many different aspects and may prove impossible to eliminate in one step. That is why Design Thinking seeks to establish a frame of reference in which different aspects of uncertainty can be reduced gradually. After each step assumptions can be either rejected or further specified in order to come a little closer to the true user behavior.


What role do unusual materials like Lego and movable furniture play?

Design Thinking is very visual. Visual stimuli say more than a thousand words. That is why Design Thinking attempts to describe the problem context and potential solutions visually by means of prototypes. Anything can be used in the process, from cardboard via Lego to digital prototypes. That is an enormous help in communication, both within the team and with externally involved actors.


To what extent is Design Thinking a method that teams can use in a company on a long-term basis?

Design Thinking ought always to be applied to specific problems that are to be solved within a certain time horizon, but problems of this kind constantly recur in all areas of a company. So it is very helpful if companies acquire and develop Design Thinking knowledge systematically and by means of repeated use. Problem solving can thereby become one of the company’s core competences.

Interview published in Business & People Magazine on September 22, 2017.


Outside of their own company, employees have the freedom to try new things, make mistakes and learn from them in a safe space. They get to know innovative methods like design thinking and agile project management, and they test them on their own business project.

They use tools like the lean-startup methodology to test new business ideas for market readiness. Once employees return to their company with this entrepreneurial mindset, they can drive the digital transformation and prepare the company for the future. You can reserve the room with or without a trainer for your session.

Our Design Thinking Space is 65m² in area and offers ample opportunities for brainstorming, creative work or developing and presenting your ideas:

  •     For up to 20 people
  •     LCD flat screen (58 inch)
  •     Writable wall
  •     Conference table for up to 10 people
  •     2 x mobile whiteboards, Metaplan boards and flip charts
  •     3 x mobile Design Thinking line tables by System 180
  •     State-of-the-art technology and ultra-modern furnishings
  •     Cold and hot drinks to refresh the mind
  •     By request, a trainer can be provided to support your creative process