Design Thinking and Organizational Implementation

Application Workshop Design Thinking and Organizational Implementation on April 12-14, 2018

> Methods Target audienceKey benefitsKey topics Meet the staff

The business world of the 21st century experiences a dramatic shift. Reinforced by digitalization and a globalized competitive environment, companies become aware of the necessity to better understand their customers and build lasting ties with them.

Markets move from the “technology push” to the market “pull”. Even the most traditional companies in the manufacturing industry establish innovation hubs to generate new business models and create a new customer experience. Mainly due to decreasing barriers to entry, the financial sector and many service industries see a new wave of entrepreneurs successfully entering their ecosystems, because they can react more flexibly to their clients’ expectations.

Meanwhile, recruiting the right talents, providing a pleasant and stimulating environment, and nourishing the ambitions of both new and old workforce become internal challenges, not only for human resource (HR) departments. Many representatives of this new generation do not develop a lifelong, emotional commitment to a single corporate employer. At the other end of the spectrum, an aging workforce has to cope with the requirements of life-long learning at the workplace. New technologies, especially those linked to digitalization and IT, are not perceived as an opportunity, but as a latent threat and stress factor.

While HPI Academy provides the high-level Design Thinking input for this three-day workshop, ESMT Berlin contributes its expertise in implementation and organizational change.

The workshop starts at the HPI Academy in Potsdam-Griebnitzsee, where participants get acquainted with the mindset of customer centricity and methods of Design Thinking. Hands-on user research is undertaken, and participants practically apply Design Thinking techniques on internal and external challenges.

Day 2 of the workshop focuses on sense-making and testing, including interaction with potential users and a joint networking event and chimney talk in the evening, which takes place at the ESMT Campus in the former state council building of the East German government.

Day 3 is dedicated to strategies how implementation of new practices can be fostered and improved, and how an internal change processes can be triggered successfully. A particular emphasis lies on internal networking and appropriate communication strategies. The workshop ends with a peer coaching session, which will be the basis for individual action plans and continued exchange among participants.



The workshop is based on an experiential, hands-on approach, with group work, real-life interviews, prototyping and testing as core ingredients of the individual and collective learning process. In addition, its relatively homogeneous target audience allows for intense networking, sharing of experiences in a setting of like-minded people facing similar challenges, and peer coaching that will extend beyond the duration of the seminar.


Target audience

Managers and executives eager to learn and implement new processes and tools of customer centricity, both within their respective organizations as well as in contact with their external customers and users.


Key benefits

Participants learn principles of the Design Thinking and familiarize themselves with the major steps of this process: understanding the needs of internal and external customers and gaining empathy for them, conducting interviews, implementing creativity methods, as well as prototyping and testing.  

Participants also enhance their ability to trigger changes in managerial practices of their firms, with practical advice how to establish networks of like-minded people and refine their communication skills to convince their peers across hierarchies.

Complemented by keynotes of external guest speakers, the program also enlarges the horizon of participants with up-to-date insights within the field of innovation and customer centricity.


Topics include

  • The changing landscape of innovation
  • Applying Design Thinking methods in an internal or external challenge
  • How to conduct interviews with customers and internal clients
  • Communication techniques and tools for implementing organizational change
  • Up-to-date insights how to build coalitions of like-minded peers in the organizational context



Meeting the teaching staff

Konstantin Korotov

Konstantin Korotov is an associate professor of organizational behavior and the director of the ESMT Center for Leadership Development Research (CLDR), which he co-founded with Professor Manfred Kets de Vries. In addition to his academic work, he has more than 20 years of practical management and leadership development experience in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas. Konstantin conducts research on leadership development, leadership coaching, careers, and executive education. He has authored, co-authored, and coedited six books and multiple academic and practitioner articles, business cases, and book chapters on leadership development and executive coaching. He has won multiple awards for his case studies, articles, and teaching excellence. Konstantin is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies. Additionally, he is the founder of the ESMT Coaching Colloquia series – premier professional development events for the world’s leading executive coaches.


Selina Mayer

Selina Mayer is Program Manager at the HPI Academy and accompanies organizations and individual participants on their learning journeys through the world of Design Thinking.

She has an academic background in business psychology and design thinking. These two fields add up to her overall interest in user-centered design and her passion for human behavior. By developing and conducting various professional education formats at the HPI Academy, she applies these fields of expertise in her working life on a daily basis. Selina facilitates and consults both method focused design thinking workshops, and solution driven long term projects. Having already worked for a globally operating engineering company and for a small Berlin Start-Up she is experienced with very different infrastructures of small, young but also big and traditional businesses. She enjoys the constant surprises and challenges that accompany these various areas and is curious to see what might be next.


Steven Ney

Dr. Steven Ney joined the HPI in July 2015, where he is since then responsible for developing new teaching formats for design thinking as well as inquiring into the impact of design thinking on large organizations. Starting as a researcher of environmental issues, particularly climate change, Steven Ney has developed an interest in analyzing the way societies deal with complex and uncertain policy challenges. Specifically, Steven Ney is interested in processes of institutional change and reform. Recently, Steven Ney has concentrated on social innovation and processes of transformation design, such as design thinking, as a vehicle of sustainable institutional change.

Steven Ney completed his doctorate in the policy sciences at the Department of Comparative Politics in the University of Bergen. Trained as a policy analyst at the University of London, Steven Ney has worked on a wide range of policy issues in a number of research institutes including the LOS Center in Bergen, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Comparative Research in the Social Sciences (ICCR) in Vienna and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Luxemburg. After spending four years as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Singapore Management University, Steven Ney became Assistant Professor for Policy Science and Social Entrepreneurship at Jacobs University, Bremen.


Bianca Schmitz

Bianca Schmitz is a program director and head of international executive education relationships at ESMT Berlin. Additionally, she leads the Hidden Champions Institute at ESMT with two other colleagues.

She is responsible for establishing new international cooperations with other business schools, institutions or networks, such as the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) or UNICON.

Her focus lies in agile innovation processes, especially of so-called Hidden Champions. She has been trained in Design Thinking by Hasso Plattner Institute and is a certified SCRUM Product Owner.

Bianca has cooperated with Hidden Champions in industries such as machine-building, automotive, construction, power tools, imaging, and retailing.

She studied Regional Sciences of Latin America at the University of Cologne and finished with a diploma in microeconomics. Her focus was on economics and Spanish language.

Bianca worked for three years at the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS), a non-profit organization based in Cologne, Germany, with sections throughout the world.

Bianca’s international profile is supplemented by a two-year working experience in Spain.


Jens Weinmann

Dr. Jens Weinmann is Program Director at ESMT Berlin. He runs ESMT’s open enrollment program “Innovation as a corporate model”. He is the Chairmain of the Judging Committee at the Product Innovation Awards of European Utility Week, and a mentor at Startup Bootcamp Berlin, an accelerator focusing on innovations in energy and transport.

Jens Weinmann's research focuses on the analysis of strategic decision-making in corporations with respect to innovation, regulation, and competition policy, with a special interest in energy and transport. Together with his colleague Christoph Burger, he published the book “The decentralized energy revolution – business strategies for a new paradigm” at Palgrave-Macmillan, and regularly releases editions of the “ESMT Innovation Index – electricity supply industry”.

He graduated in energy engineering (Dipl.-Ing.) at the Technical University Berlin and received his PhD in Decision Sciences from London Business School. His academic experience includes fellowships at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and the Florence School of Regulation, European University Institute. He has been trained in Design Thinking by Hasso-Plattner-Institute and is a certified SCRUM Master.