Design Thinking and Organizational Implementation

The business world of the 21st century experiences a dramatic shift. Reinforced by digitalization and a globalized competitive environment, companies become aware of the necessity to better understand their customers and build lasting ties with them.

Markets move from the “technology push” to the market “pull”. Even the most traditional companies in the manufacturing industry establish innovation hubs to generate new business models and create a new customer experience. Mainly due to decreasing barriers to entry, the financial sector and many service industries see a new wave of entrepreneurs successfully entering their ecosystems, because they can react more flexibly to their clients’ expectations.

Meanwhile, recruiting the right talents, providing a pleasant and stimulating environment, and nourishing the ambitions of both new and old workforce become internal challenges, not only for human resource (HR) departments. Many representatives of this new generation do not develop a lifelong, emotional commitment to a single corporate employer. At the other end of the spectrum, an aging workforce has to cope with the requirements of life-long learning at the workplace. New technologies, especially those linked to digitalization and IT, are not perceived as an opportunity, but as a latent threat and stress factor.

While HPI Academy provides the high-level Design Thinking input for this three-day workshop, ESMT Berlin contributes its expertise in implementation and organizational change.

The workshop starts at the HPI Academy in Potsdam-Griebnitzsee, where participants get acquainted with the mindset of customer centricity and methods of Design Thinking. Hands-on user research is undertaken, and participants practically apply Design Thinking techniques on internal and external challenges.

Day 2 of the workshop focuses on sense-making and testing, including interaction with potential users and a joint networking event and chimney talk in the evening, which takes place at the ESMT Campus in the former state council building of the East German government.

Day 3 is dedicated to strategies how implementation of new practices can be fostered and improved, and how an internal change processes can be triggered successfully. A particular emphasis lies on internal networking and appropriate communication strategies. The workshop ends with a peer coaching session, which will be the basis for individual action plans and continued exchange among participants.


The workshop is based on an experiential, hands-on approach, with group work, real-life interviews, prototyping and testing as core ingredients of the individual and collective learning process. In addition, its relatively homogeneous target audience allows for intense networking, sharing of experiences in a setting of like-minded people facing similar challenges, and peer coaching that will extend beyond the duration of the seminar.

Target audience

Managers and executives eager to learn and implement new processes and tools of customer centricity, both within their respective organizations as well as in contact with their external customers and users.

Key benefits

Participants learn principles of the Design Thinking and familiarize themselves with the major steps of this process: understanding the needs of internal and external customers and gaining empathy for them, conducting interviews, implementing creativity methods, as well as prototyping and testing.  

Participants also enhance their ability to trigger changes in managerial practices of their firms, with practical advice how to establish networks of like-minded people and refine their communication skills to convince their peers across hierarchies.

Complemented by keynotes of external guest speakers, the program also enlarges the horizon of participants with up-to-date insights within the field of innovation and customer centricity.

Topics include

  • The changing landscape of innovation
  • Applying Design Thinking methods in an internal or external challenge
  • How to conduct interviews with customers and internal clients
  • Communication techniques and tools for implementing organizational change
  • Up-to-date insights how to build coalitions of like-minded peers in the organizational context


Date: October 04.-06, 2018 (3 days) 

Venue: Day 1

Hasso Plattner Institute Academy
August-Bebel-Straße 88
14482 Potsdam

Days 2 + 3

ESMT Berlin
Schlossplatz 1
10178 Berlin

Costs:  EUR 3,300.– (plus 19 % VAT)

Includes: participation, materials, one coach per max. six participants, all meals and Happy Hour (network event on day 2). Participants receive a collective certificate from HPI Academy and ESMT.

Accommodation: Participants are entitled to a reduced rate per night at the NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstraße.

Workshop Language: Inputs and presentations are in English. Work in the teams is carried out in German or English based on the preference and ability of the team.

Further information on the format can be found here.

Please register here