Strategic Design Thinking for Every Day – Online Course

This is an online course for change makers who want to use Strategic Design Thinking for everyday challenges. You learn to use the whole potential of the approach, going beyond the method and the tools. Equip yourself with the most impactful Design Thinking principles to unlock your innovation capacity in complex, highly constrained situations.

Relevance: Innovation Capacity to Manage Complexity and Constraints

During the last weeks, “managing complexity and constraints” has evolved into a new meaning for most of us. We find ourselves being extreme users in life, in work and in social interactions. The ability to adapt quickly and overcome hurdles is necessary more than ever.

This is why we have created a comprehensive online training to help you develop your work-around skills and ability to use constraints as stepping stones for creative solutions.

By the end of the course, you will know how to use the nine fundamental strategic principles of Design Thinking for daily hacks. You will have explored their impact on your individual daily life - for your professional as well as private life. This online training experience is provided by the European Excellence Center for Human Centered Transformation and Digital Innovation, the Hasso Plattner Institute, that is pioneering Design Thinking education for more than 15 years in Stanford / USA and Potsdam / GER.

Overview of Blocks and Module Content

The curriculum is based on a precisely structured process that guides you through three Blocks:


Each Block consists of three Modules that cover selected strategic Design Thinking principles.


BLOCK 1 – Human Needs as Innovation Source

Module 1 EMPATHY: Step into the user´s shoes to get game-changing inspiration.

Module 2 PROTOTYPING: Accelerate decisions by making ideas tangible.

Module 3 SYSTEMS THINKING: Manage complexity by interrelated actions.


BLOCK 2 – Multiperspectivity as Innovation Amplifier

Module 4 DIVERSITY: Enable selforganisation of teams for high performance creativity.

Module 5 SYNTHESIS: Make sense of data for a common stepping stone.

Module 6 ANALOGY: Use the known to engage with the new.


BLOCK 3 – Experiments as Innovation Motor

Module 7 SPACE: Design space that defines (inter-)action.

Module 8 ITERATION: Fail early to learn together at high speed.

Module 9 STORYTELLING: Involve the collective mind and heart.

Learning Experience Model and Structure

The Strategic Design Thinking online course takes place on OpenHPI and makes use of different learning modes, all designed to help you understand and immediately apply your new knowledge. Every Module is based on the following Learning Experience Model.



Get inspired: Annie Kerguenne, Lead Integrated Design Thinking Programs at the HPI Academy, will introduce the strategic Design Thinking principles and inspire with practical application examples in a video lecture. Video time: approx. 15 minutes. 

Do: The video lectures are followed by hands-on exercises that are designed to help you practice what you have learned. We will provide you with templates to try out your skills and capture your applied work. To accomplish the exercise, you should plan approx. 1,15h per Module. In case you need help, the Course Coaching Team answers your questions during their weekly Office Hour.

Share: For an active learning experience we highly recommend to make use of the learning community and share your outcomes, thoughts and ideas. You can do that by participating in the virtual live sessions, the discussions in the forum and uploading your results to OpenHPI for your peers to review. 

Evaluate: It would be great if you join the community and take part in our final peer-to-peer assessment in order to give direct feedback and get it from your peers. Send in your exercise outcomes to be reviewed by three peers and do a round of reviewing yourself. Accordingly, we will provide you with guidelines and rubrics for the peer review. This is volutary!

Your HPI certificate, a confirmation of participation, is issued to those who have completed at least 75% of the course material.

This online course takes place over the course of eight weeks. We recommend planning a time investment of 90 minutes per Module. Three Modules open within one week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), so 4,5 hours per week should be calculated that you can divide flexibly fitting to your schedule. If you would like to make use of an active learning cohort, participate in the virtual live sessions and activities to discuss and get feedback. 

However, if time restrictions don´t allow your participation during the actively running course, you have the option of doing things in an on-demand self-paced manner. We give you the flexibility to make use of the learning materials in a 30-day access after the starting date of the course.

Online Coaching Team and Community

This online course is developed by HPI experts with specialized experience in developing Design Thinking offers and programs for executives over the last decade. The inputs are based on leadership and strategy knowledge as well as daily practices from global companies, organizations and individual leaders. Scientific research results and frameworks to successfully manage complexity will ensure the transfer in your context.

The Online Coaching Team brings in their expertise in teaching and facilitating experiential learning in agile working methods. They support you on your learning journey with guidance and tutorials for your designed course material, fostering peer connection and providing feedback on your produced course results.

Get inspiration from the collective intelligence of the participant community. The HPI online course community consist of passionate and curious professionals that want to drive innovation and organizational change within their organization: a like-minded community of continuous learners striving to support their personal development.

Applied Challenge Work

During the program, participants work on real challenges to immediately apply their knowledge:

  • either to the Design Thinking course challenge to develop solutions for „Re-Designing the Learning Experience in a world where schools do not exist“.
  • or to individual challenges tackling (everyday) problems to develop Design Thinking Hacks. Those are small interventions with high leverage effect where Design Thinking has been applied to overcome system-immanent hurdles or constraints. 

You can also start with the course challenge as inspiration and then transfer your knowledge to your own daily life challenges. At the end of the course, participants are invited to come together in a virtual Design Thinking Hacking Jam. This is a space where you can share your solutions and Hacks with the community. You want to get more impressions of a Design Thinking Hacking Jam?

Check out our video of the Alumni Connect & Do Day, where a Hacking Jam took place.

Course Journey and Duration

MODULES (Available from 10 am CEST onwards on the dedicated days)
After opening at 10 am CEST, you then have access to watch the ~15 min inspirational input and continue with doing the ~75 min hands-on exercise to apply what you have learned. You can do the exercises in your own pace over the next weeks. To get feedback however, make sure to finish them until the peer review on Monday.

Join us for the live sessions on Zoom to meet the Coaching Team and have a Q&A on each Module. Don´t worry, you don't need to be finished with the exercise of the Module. However, make sure you have watched the inspirational input before joining the live sessions in the evening to know what the Module is all about.

OFFICE HOUR (Each Monday at 5 pm CEST)
As your Course Coaching Team, we will be there to support you during this online course. In case of questions, hot topics or debates coming up, we will follow up on them in virtual live Q&As. The Office Hour takes place each Monday at 5 pm CEST on Zoom.

PEER-TO-PEER REVIEW / Deadline (August 3th; 10 am CEST)
If you have submitted filled-out templates yourself to participate in the peer-to-peer review, you will get sent three (individual) assignments of your peers. It is your turn to evaluate your peer´s work and give feedback. After submitting your review, you will receive feedback to your own course outcomes as well.

By the end of this online training, we invite you to come together for our virtual Design Thinking Hacking Jam. The Hacking Jam is a given space where practitioners share how they applied or misapplied Design Thinking tools or principles to overcome system-immanent hurdles and constraints.


It is going to be a practice-focused, very condensed format that will allow:

  • You as an interested new Design Thinking pioneer to get a compact insight into Strategic Design Thinking and unlock your hidden innovation capacity in times of extreme constraints.
  • You as a Design Thinking Practitioner / Professional Track alumni to refresh and easily share the Design Thinking strategies to manage complexity with your colleagues.

General knowledge of Design Thinking and an affinity towards human-centered design is sufficient to take part in this online training. If you already have knowledge in Design Thinking, you will discover the strategic principles behind the method and new application areas as this online learning course is targeted on taking practice into application in every-day life.

Save your spot now and participate in the Strategic Design Thinking for Every Day online summer course 2020 by registering here

This online training is part of the blended learning offer complementary to the on-campus Professional Track by the HPI Academy.