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Design Thinking Workshop at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI) Potsdam

‘Design thinking enables people to think in a connected way’ (Prof. Weinberg, HPI Potsdam).


The HPI School of Design Thinking in Potsdam, Germany, is the first innovation school in Europe and is oriented towards the model of the popular of the Stanford University in California. Both schools were founded by Hasso Plattner. The is not only used as university, companies have the possibility to work in a refreshing atmosphere to create innovative ideas. The HPI has trained coaches to moderate the design thinking workshops with companies and their customers.

The IBU Oil and Gas took advantage of this offer and organized a workshop with Engen Petroleum Limited from South Africa. The intention was to become an idea how the future of fuel retail business could look like.

The first workshop day was arranged by the design thinking coach and was conceived as ‘Blue sky trend exploration’ workshop. At the beginning of the workshop Prof. Weinberg, manager of the HPI Potsdam gave a short insight into the world of design thinking and the life on the campus. He outlined that design thinking intensifies the team not the individual. Nowadays the secret of innovation lies in the structure of knowledge. We need to change from the seperate (brockhaus) thinking to connected or even networked thinking. We are still trying to solve all problems with the brockhaus thinking. IQ now needs to become ‘WeQ’. Our group used the ‘WeQ’ with group exercises and prototyping to figure out how the future could look like.

The second day was designed by SAP participants with the topic ‘Blue sky goes roadmap’. This day focused on capturing the ideas from the day before and filling them out with content.

Peter du Plooy, the CIO of Engen Petroleum Limited stated; ‘Design thinking is a method that stimulates creative out-of-the-box thinking harnessing the collective intelligence of participants to create a network of ideas that culminate in an exciting opportunity. The experience at the HPI in Potsdam achieved the desired outcome in a manner that was fun, inclusive and inventive.’

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