D-School Basic Track

One-Year Study Program 

Design Thinking Basic Track

Studying at the HPI School of Design Thinking is also possible for professionals. Together with students of the Design Thinking Basic Track, you experience Design Thinking in practical group work on real world projects over the course of a semester.


  • As a participant you will learn and experience the method via practical group work based on projects realized with external project partners from business and society.
  • In the hybrid Basic Track program, you will gain the knowledge, skills, and creative confidence to apply the fundamentals of the iterative Design Thinking approach and innovative work culture.
  • You will be empowered to develop human-centered solutions to complex problems.

Key Facts

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Two full days on site per week, plus eight hours of self-organized teamwork. Teams may schedule their teamwork with their coaches flexibly.

For more information on the Basic Track, visit the D-School website.

Target audience

The program is designed for professionals who want to explore Design Thinking intensively in a more academic setting.  


EUR 10,000 (plus VAT) if you are either over 35 years old or have been employed for more than one year. In this case, registration is done via the HPI Academy. To apply for the Basic Track as professional, please send the following documents to Dr. Julia Oberhofer: info@hpi-academy.de

Included in the workshop

  • Participation, working materials, any transfers required as part of the workshop. 

Covid Note

Currently there are no official workshops on site. Participants are invited to use the premises of the HPI D-School for their teamwork.

The semester starts with a one-week project introducing Design Thinking as a method and a mindset. In subsequent projects with external partners from business and society, this knowledge is deepened and applied to current issues to be solved.

Both, students and professionals, are trained by the D-School staff and by experienced professors and teachers from various disciplines.

Regular talks are given on the different phases of the Design Thinking process. Practical tips on project work complete the offer.


  • Working in small, multidisciplinary and international teams guarantees the best learning experiences.
  • Each team and project is accompanied by highly experienced Design Thinking coaches from the HPI D-School, as well as professors and lecturers from different departments of the Hasso Plattner Institute.
  • The hybrid training program offers a great mix of on-site meetings and live online workshops. Please check the current Covid notes.
  • The Design Thinking Basic Track program is an officially recognized certificate program at the University of Potsdam.  


The program spans several months and includes both short and longer project and study elements."201341983":0,"335559740":259"> 

Design Thinking 101 (5 weeks)

The first project at the HPI D-School familiarizes participants with our hybrid working space and vibrant community. While working on a design challenge with a diverse and multidisciplinary team, we introduce the fundamentals of the Design Thinking mindset.

As part of the first project, participants will:

  • Understand and experiment with different user research methods to gain an understanding of the design challenge from the user’s perspective
  • Identify insights from qualitative data they have gathered
  • Apply several ideation methods
  • Develop testable prototypes to collect feedback

Deep Dive (one day)

The Design Thinking Deep Dive is a format in which the Basic Track participants will have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and skills with one another. Special coaches organize the entire day. The goal of the Deep Dive is to tap into the existing pool of skills and knowledge and foster a peer-to-peer learning environment.

The Partner project (8 weeks)

The partner project is the culmination of the Basic Track. Participants are now ready to collaborate on eye level with a partner organization from the public, private or social sector in new team constellations. Participants apply Design Thinking to develop human-centered solutions for their partner’s challenges. The partners experience the potential of up to ten interdisciplinary participants who use their Design Thinking skills and creativity to foster innovation.

Prototyping Festival (one day)

The Design Thinking Prototyping Festival (ProtoFestival) is a full day dedicated to developing new skills in analog and virtual prototyping techniques. The ProtoFestival is integrated into the syllabus of the partner project in such a way that participating teams will get a chance to prototype their project ideas with the support of coaches. By the end of the ProtoFestival, teams will build several prototypes of one of their ideas.

Further information on the Basic Track, please see the D-School website.