Design Thinking and Organizational Implementation

HPI Academy and ESMT Berlin, two leading players in Germany’s executive education market, have united to combine their expertise for this three-day hands-on program: HPI Academy provides the high-level Design Thinking input and insights on implementing Design Thinking in companies. ESMT Berlin contributes its expertise in organizational change and change strategies.

Innovation and its implementation within the organization

The business world of the 21st century is experiencing a dramatic shift. Reinforced by digitalization and a globalized competitive environment, companies have become aware of the necessity to better understand their customers and build lasting ties with them. Markets are moving from the “technology push” to the “market pull”. Even the most traditional companies in the manufacturing industry have established innovation hubs to explore new business models and create customer journeys. With fewer barriers to entry, a new generation of entrepreneurs successfully disrupts the ecosystems of many industries by reacting more flexibly to their clients’ expectations.

Design Thinking is one of the world‘s most popular methods of establishing a dynamic, customer-focused and goal-oriented innovation culture within the organization – for start-ups, SMEs and large corporations alike. With the methods of the Design Thinking approach, ideas can be improved within the entire corporate value chain, from internal process optimization and digitalization to customer contact in both the B2B and B2C areas. However, even the most promising innovations often fail due to internal organizational resistance. Successful implementation requires a strategy that takes organizational complexity and power relations into account, a careful analysis of key stakeholders and their interests, as well as communication skills. This workshop addresses these two challenges: innovation and its implementation within the organization.

The workshop process at a glance

First Day:

The workshop starts at 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 apply Design Thinking techniques in practice on internal and external challenges. A joint networking event in the evening closes the day.

Second Day:

Day 2 focuses on sensemaking and testing, including interaction with potential users. The day closes with a peer coaching session combined with a happy hour.

Third Day:

Day 3 of the workshop takes place at the ESMT Campus in Berlin and is dedicated to strategies on how the implementation of new practices can be fostered and improved, and how an internal change process can be successfully initiated. A particular emphasis is placed on internal networking and appropriate communication strategies.


The workshop is based on an experiential, hands-on approach. Here, group work, real-life interviews, prototyping, and testing are core ingredients of the individual and collective learning process. In addition, the highly interactive design allows for intense networking and sharing of experiences in a setting of like-minded people facing similar challenges.

Target audience

Managers and executives eager to learn and implement new processes and tools of customer-centricity, both within their organizations as well as when they are in contact with their external customers and users of their products and services.

Key benefits

Participants will learn the principles of 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 will enhance their ability to trigger changes in the managerial practices of their firms. They will also receive practical advice on how to establish networks of like-minded people and refine their communication skills to convince their peers across hierarchies. Complemented by a keynote from an external guest speaker, the program also expands the horizon of participants offering up-to-date insights within the field of innovation and customer-centricity.



Costs:  EUR 3,500.– (plus VAT)

Includes: participation, materials, networking event on day 1 and happy hour on day 2. Participants receive a joint certificate from HPI Academy and ESMT.

Workshop Language: Inputs and presentations are in English.

Topics include

  • The changing landscape of innovation 
  • Applying Design Thinking methods to an internal or external challenge
  • Conducting interviews with customers and stakeholders
  • Communication techniques and tools for implementing organizational change
  • Up-to-date insights on how to build coalitions of like-minded peers in the organizational context
  • Gaining insights from users of products and services


Please register here for 20 - 22. October, 2021 (workshop in Potsdam and Berlin).

Please register here for 23 - 25. March, 2022 (workshop in Potsdam and Berlin).

Please register here for 19. - 21. October, 2022 (workshop in Potsdam and Berlin).