Friday, November 15, 2019


Do you find it difficult to develop new ideas and concepts? You don't know how to start to control a creative process? The Design Thinking Method is a new approach that allows you to try out new things and find creative solutions in a protected space.

At the NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management, the "Design Thinking" module teaches you the approach of designers, who deal first with the area of concern and who work in a user-oriented way. The course is suitable for employees in companies who initiate innovation processes or founders who want to try out their ideas.

This course is a module from the NIT Master‘s Program in Technology Management. Together with the students of the NIT you systematically develop solutions which directly benefit your customer's need. You will then receive a certificate of attendance and can also earn 6 ECTS credits. The module starts on January 25, 2020 and lasts 6 weeks. The classroom sessions always take place on weekends.

You will be accompanied by Prof. Dr. Christoph Ihl, Professor and Head of the Institute of Entrepreneurship at the Hamburg University of Technology.

Prof. Ihl, you are an innovation expert and have accompanied many people through creative processes. You have specialized in Design Thinking in particular. What do you like about this approach and how does it help to advance innovation processes?

Design Thinking enables entrepreneurs to structure problems in different business areas in a targeted way and to systematically develop solutions from the user's perspective. The added value lies in focusing on user acceptance right from the start when developing potential solutions. In practice, solutions fail much more often because of user acceptance than because of technical barriers. The method is excellently suited for temporary project teams dealing with a specific problem in which uncertainties about user acceptance play a major role. Nowadays, digitalization and business model innovation, in which Design Thinking can contribute, are considered the most relevant topics.

Starting in January 2020, you will supervise the "Design Thinking" module from the Master's program in Technology Management at NIT, which will run for several weeks. How does a typical design thinking process work for you? What can participants expect in the module?

We already adhere to the classic process phases:

(1) Understanding: we develop a deep understanding of the problems and wishes of the users in a problem area.

(2) Define: In this problem area a concrete task is defined, a core problem.

(3) Finding ideas: Then we develop solutions in a creative phase.

(4) Building: In a fourth step, these approaches are prototypically implemented.

(5) Testing: Finally, the solution approaches are tested with actual users in order to collect feedback on improvements and select solutions.

In each phase of the process, we use various suitable instruments. So this module works and implements concretely.

Students and employees can participate in this module. How do you want to introduce the different participants to this method?

The project ideas for this module should come from the ranks of the participants. Employees from companies in particular can and should, of course, draw on the experience of their own company. This benefits the employees who can take tangible results with them for their company (beyond learning the method), but this also ensures practical relevance for the students. Then we form mixed project teams to go through the process. Design Thinking's aim is to integrate a wealth of experience from the project teams. That's why I'm looking forward to working with participants with different backgrounds.

Which competences are required and who can participate?

No special skills or requirements are required. Students of all disciplines and employees of all branches and functions can participate. We will focus on problem areas from the corporate practical context for our projects and solutions that can be implemented "digitally". However, since digitalization is a common feature of all industries and corporate functions, the broad relevance for all participants is guaranteed.

How can participants use Design Thinking in their daily work?

Design Thinking comes into its own best when tackling specific problems in an interdisciplinary project team, and certainly, when, as in digitalization, the user perspective is relevant. However, even if I am not involved in a digitalization project as an employee, I learn a lot about how to approach problems and their solutions in an open, interdisciplinary, communicative and empathetic way.

For further information and for booking please click here.

Costs per person:

1.950 € normal rate

1,750 € for students and NIT alumni

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