We were pleased to welcome about 60 students, teachers and associates of the education sector to design the Future of Education within the EduAction Bildungsgipfel Experience Day (02.07.2016) at SRH Hochschule Heidelberg.

Six mixed groups, led by Design Thinking coaches from SAP and Hasso-Plattner-Institut’s D-School, set out for the Design Thinking journey organized by SAP’s education initiative Young Thinkers Network. Principles of the innovative ideation methodology were shortly explained by Prof. Uli Weinberg (HPI School of Design Thinking) and Christiane Bauer (SAP Young Thinkers). Starting with an analysis of the challenge “How do we want to learn in the future”, especially personal experiences and perceptions of education were brought on the display. Following the simple rules of Design Thinking, as being visual and staying focused and impartial, the attendees created a positive and productive atmosphere.

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This spirit was taken along into the typical interview phase. Potential customers, in this case other participants, were interviewed to explore their wishes and needs for education, which were then transferred onto a so called persona – an imagined “end-user”.

Knowing crucial and favored aspects of education now, all groups could start with the ideation. Many creative ideas were gathered and discarded until each group selected its favorite for prototyping. Now was the time for artistic and technical work. Ideas were converted into handcraft and roleplay prototypes.

Finally, all prototypes were presented to a top-level jury. Luka Mucic, Matthias Baaß and Prof. Dr. Dieter von Hoyningen-Huene together with Dr. André Becker, Tom Ankirchner and Bernd Welz gave their profound feedback to the content and presentation format of the demonstrated concepts. The shown ideas included e.g. a ministry of education led by young representatives to allow “end-consumers” to make important educational decisions. Also web based learnings spaces or a convertible bus for interactive, modularized learning were presented. Overall, the groups created impressive ideas and prototypes, especially considering the short process time.

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On the question “Isn’t this like Kindergarten?” which was asked multiple times by reporters and interested people passing by, we want to answer with the words of Prof. Uli Weinberg: “Design Thinking is a methodology that has made its entry into the management area. A lot of participants of Design Thinking state that although it looks like Kindergarten, it is not Kindergarten. It’s rather a fascinating new thinking, learning and working model.”

Of course, Design Thinking shares some principles that are also valued in Kindergarten, as open minded thinking, impartiality and creative tinkering as well as exploring a topic together. But, Design Thinking is so much more. You need to structure, connect and interpret available knowledge, experiences as well as wishes and needs. You need to empathize with needs and desires of your possible customers and bring all that together in a constructive solution. And finally, it is essential to present your idea in a creative, profound and convincing way. And the combination works perfectly.

That was also confirmed in the flashlight feedback with all participants after the workshop. We are excited, that all attendees had an “inspiring”, “creative” and “enriching” workshop that created a “desire to learn more” about this “fascinating methodology”. With many more positive evaluations as “vivid” and “communicative”, the feedback showed that the workshop was a genuine success.


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