Team building while Design Thinking

Getting to know each other and learning about the concept of Design Thinking – this is what me and my fellow students at Laurea University of Applied Sciences spent two days doing in the beginning of September 2015.

What happens when you form a group with four strangers and start innovating together as soon as everyone has introduced themselves? You learn a lot of new things, not only about the actual subject of the course, but also about the other students and about yourself! I for example learned that I have sadly forgotten how to be creative when building things with LEGO bricks. I was also reminded that time goes by in different speeds depending on what you’re doing – one minute can feel like a long time when you’re talking about yourself but ten minutes fly by when you’re rehearsing your group presentation.

Many of us students were not that familiar with the concept of Design Thinking in advance, but with the guidance of our lecturers and a fair amount of group work, we managed to learn a lot in two days. The development of Design Thinking was introduced to us by our guest lecturers Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença. They were the inspiring duo who guided us through the history and development of Design Thinking and gave us an overview of several methods including 3 I model by IDEO and Double Diamond by British Design Council. In the end we focused on learning and using the Design Thinking Model Evolution 62. Mindshake Design Thinking Model Evolution 62 was developed by Katja Tschimmel in 2012-2013 for NA’MENTE and ESAD.

Mindshake Design Thinking Model developed by Katja Tschimmel

Mindshake Design Thinking Model developed by Katja Tschimmel (source:


Design Thinking is a way of thinking which leads to transformation, evolution and innovation (Tschimmel, 2012). We learned about the principles of Design Thinking, which include the following: human-centered approach, collaboration, experimentation, divergent thinking, visualisation, prototyping and holistic perspective. Tschimmel encouraged us to “get original”. Experiencing new things not only makes life more interesting but also gives you a unique perspective on innovating compared to someone else. This was proven when we were working in groups. Five people with different backgrounds and life experiences, all had very different views that all enriched the innovation process. Another thing that was pointed out to us was the fact that you can’t innovate without failing. There are also many brilliant and successful innovations that were made by mistake, for example penicillin, pacemaker and Post-it notes (van Wulfen, 2013).

As Gijs van Wulfen mentions in his book The Innovation Expedition: “You cannot innovate alone.” I definitely agree. During this course not only did I learn with my fellow students, but also from them. Working in a group with strangers, the innovation process was very exciting and different from any situation I have experienced in a long time. The process itself gave me a lot of new practical ideas that I will be using in other projects. Many interesting discussions were had while our group developed the idea of a new kind of intranet. We all had different ideas and didn’t always necessarily understand each other at first, but still managed to find the common ground and come up with a final product that we presented as a team to the other groups at the end the course. If only in working life we could find the time to innovate this freely! After these two days I am even more convinced that there are many great ideas bubbling under the surface, ready to come up as soon as we give ourselves some time to be innovative.

Want to learn more about Design Thinking?

I recommend this TEDTalks video podcast, in which IDEO’s CEO Tim Brown talks about design and Design Thinking. Enjoy!


Written by Riitu Nuutinen

Master’s Degree Programme in Customer-centered Service Development



Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.

van Wulfen, Gijs 2013. The innovation expedition – a visual toolkit to start innovation. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers.

One thought on “Team building while Design Thinking

  1. Thank you for the blog post and your insights. I recognise a lot of the feelings you describe, and agree that the Legos will be something to remember. All in all we learned great ways to get more creative and innovative during the course.

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