How might We…

…Study at Laurea? The swift deep dive into Design Thinking with Katja Tschimmel also marked the start of the Master Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design.

I was happy to discover during these two days, that the theory behind Design Thinking can provide the Tools will enable me to take a more professional and structured approach to complex problem solving. Design Thinking is a human-centred approach enabling, among other skills, to develop empathy for the target group and observe behaviours that, as Tim Brown puts it, are “never right or wrong, but they are always meaningful”. This is further reflected in the methodology, that Design Thinking shifts the point of view from “The Problem” to “The Project” and encourages interdisciplinary collaboration.

To tackle more complex projects, Design Thinking comes with a variety of models that have developed over time and show that each customer’s journey is individual, which doesn’t make the process easier.

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E6 Step1 – Opportunity Mind Map

My entry question “How might we study at Laurea” was the core project, through which we swiftly applied the design thinking process, based on the Mindshake Design Thinking Model Evolution 6² model.

The process has touched each stage of the Design Thinking Process and gave an overall feeling of what will come during the next 1.5 years.

Starting with the first step of Evolution 62, E1, Emergence, the opportunity map visualised the thoughts and set us in the right mind set of “draw as much as you can”. Seeing the map afterwards, shows that even when being open to the idea, it is not easy.

E2, Empathy, showed us the network we are connected to and put the studies in context of personal, private and further context and correlations. Here it becomes important to understand what empathy stands for and see the process with another pair of eyes and an angle that is different from yours.

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Design thinking: Innovation with creativity and confidence

Getting back to studies after a decade was like, having butterfly effect and feeling equally anxious and excited! Moving ahead with hopes and believes, that this course in Service Design and Innovation will be a serious learning curve for current and future growth in my career path. We jumped into the course of Design Thinking with Katja Tschimmel at Laurea University on 8-9 September, along with many new faces around and hundreds of new thoughts churning in my head.

A course stimulating, creative, full of learning and findings using Design Thinking methodologies – Evolution E6 introduced to us by Katja Tschimmel. We explored this highly complex tool, which usually takes months when practiced professionally,  in just two days. It was an intensive experience of learning with creativity and building confidence among group. Started off with pre preparation to build group spirit and gain understanding of group members by sketching and writing on post-it about each other, soon we realised our group was  – ‘Vegabond Yogi’s’

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The first question arises in the group work was; So what is Design Thinking?

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Modern Practical tools of Design Thinking

Last weekend I have participated in Design thinking course which motivates me to share my thoughts about my learning in this course and related material.

Design acts as the facilitator for innovation processes but during last decade design thinking(DT) gains great appreciation from research communities but also from all organizational sectors of the world. Many business schools introduce graduate degree programs in DT.

Various models and techniques of DT are available but following caught my eye, to share with fellow design thinkers.

  • The innovation expedition by “Gijs Van Wulfen”
  • Mind shake innovation & design thinking model EVOLUTION 62 by “Katja Tschimmel”

The innovation expedition by Gij Van Wulfen discusses visual toolkit to start innovation. It comprises of five steps naming as (FORTH):

  1. Full steam ahead
  2. Observe & learn
  3. Raise ideas
  4. Test ideas
  5. Home coming


Full steam ahead is based on defining concrete goals, core team creation and kick off workshop which allows team to get acquainted with innovation assignment(IA). The essence of Observe & learn is thinking out of the box. The team explores different technologies & trends, customer feedback meetings are done. Then workshop is organized to define relevant customer friction and promising innovation opportunities. Raise idea is new product brainstorming and concept improvement step. The team develops twelve new concepts for IA. Concept testing is done in Test idea by direct application on target group. The testing is followed live for finding new inspirations and immediate improvement.

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Design Thinking, new superpower?

World is changing faster than ever before. Businesses are facing more and more complex issues. Management models from the days of Industrial Revolution are not so useful in the fast-moving world of today. No businesses are safe from change as world is going digital. Think about Uber and Airbnb. We want more, when we want, how we want it. Current management tools are focused on value capture but we should be focusing more on value creation. There is a need for something new.


Design Thinking is a creative, logical tool that can facilitate innovation and transformation. Applying it to business problems empowers organizations and individuals to better understand their competitive and operational environment. It helps us to get back to the basics of human needs and human problems. Future business leaders need to be Design Thinkers. Design thinking teaches us how to bring intuition into the strategy process.

New skills are needs in the working life and therefore also education needs to change. We need skills as the ability to think creatively and critically, take initiative and work collaboratively for common goals. Design thinking offers enormous potential to improve the current educational system.

Our two-day course on Design Thinking led by Katja Tschimmel was based on the MINDSHAKE model Evolution 6, 2012 – 2016. Big part of Design Thinking is design doing and our course was exactly like that. We worked in small groups on the subject “Studying in Laurea”.

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Will Design Thinking disrupt Education?

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VIDEO Desktop walkthrough prototype

Chances are if you didn’t go to design school (or don’t have a career in design) you believe you have absolutely no clue what Design Thinking is.

But when one starts analysing how they create solutions, they are likely to recognise similarities with this now superpop method. Innovation by Design Thinking follows patterns similar to other traditional methods, however guided by human-centric principles rather than business & technology requirements. Katja Tschimmel (2015) describes it as a way of transforming and innovating through human-centric approach. In other words, creative thinking with people in mind that leads to actually meaningful solutions.

Doing is the new Teaching

During 2 intensive days we had guests from Portugal, Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença, lecture the Design Thinking masters course at Laurea SID. What stood out for me was their way of lecturing. They digested all those years of extensive research into easy-to-grasp exercises and a useful set of slides overviewing everything Design Thinking. It was interactive and inspiring rather than exhaustive. Quickly the lecture became practical with quizzes, ultimately becoming a workshop following one of the models presented, Evolution 6.

I’m more interested in observing how Design Thinking can change the way we teach/learn anything at schools in general. While performing the exercises myself I recognised at least 4 design thinking principles applied to the teaching&learning environment, described by Tschimmel in the latest Research Report D-Think.

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Can Design Thinking Provide the Breakthroughs We Need to Reduce Global Poverty and Domestic Violence?



Woman cooking next to the port and market in Cotonou, Benin [Image (c) Jeffrey Allen]

By Jeffrey Allen

25 Sep, LONDON – For the past seven years, I’ve designed and managed projects to improve lives in developing countries, focusing on education, health, good governance, human rights, agriculture, employment, the environment… everything that impacts people’s quality of life. It’s a wildly complex field, where managers have to understand business, sociology, communications, technology, innovation, politics, psychology, and more if they’re going to be successful.

I spent the first several years just getting my head around the basics, learning on the job, by trial and error, and by soaking up what I could from those around me. Before starting the job, I had observed international development work – mostly from the outside – for more than six years as a journalist remixing stories published by organizations working in the field. Looking on through my outsider’s lens, I was consistently impressed by the work development practitioners did every day to make lives better and open opportunities for billions of people in difficult circumstances across the globe. Continue reading

All I Know Is I Know Nothing

The Design Thinking method is gaining popularity among companies, entrepreneurs, managers, and universities as a leading way to find better solutions, discover new opportunities and produce the innovations required by the real world of today.

During the two-days workshop led by Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença at the Laurea University’s Service Innovation and Design course, a set of different Techniques and Tools were presented as possibilities to be implemented when using the Design Thinking approach. For the practical exercise, we followed part of the Mindshake Design Thinking Model Evolution 62, developed by Tschimmel between 2012 and 2015.



Even tough the Techniques and Tools may vary and differ from each other, they all share the same core and objective, being an integrative approach with some steps (or spaces) through which a project will cycle several times as a result of a fast and iterative process.

In the article Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation, Katja Tschimmel describes in detail each different Technique and Tool that we can apply in the process, but in the following lines, I mention the ten most used tools classified in relation to the step where each one is applied.

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