What begins here transforms the world


Today our very motivated Junior Coaches and students started working on their tracks, going through the first two phases of Design Thinking: Understand and Observe.


The goal of Understand is to achieve a common ground on the design challenge and collect as many perspectives as possible from and with the team. Our track mentors contributed to this phase by providing valuable information about the topic and by answering the questions of the teams. The track mentors are the experts who can give deeper insights and point out the challenges of the particular topic, which can give the teams a good overview where innovations are needed. 


For the Observe phase some students went to different market places in the city, interviewing locals to get their perspective on the individual challenges they face. Other teams stayed at the university and interviewed the track mentors if they were identified as a relevant user group. 


The created insights from these two phases are crucial to develop relevant human-centred solutions for pressing issues of our time. We are happy to take another step to transform the world to the better - in line with our host university's motto: what begins here transforms the world.

Bringing in the excitement and energy from yesterday‘s interviews, today we moved to a somehwat tricky phase for many: Synthesis. 

Synthesis is about making sense of all the gained insights from previous phases and find patterns, so that you will be able to come up with a catchy statement (point-of-view) and maybe even a persona which represents your user or target group in the end. More importantly this phase is (surprise!) also about empathy. Putting yourself in your users’ or customer‘s shoes: what do they need, feel, desire, fear, hope for? And last but not least, enriching the insights you have gathered with your own experience and informed assumptions.



After this agenda item of hard work was checked off, we went on to the Ideation phase, which is often perceived as being more fun. Here you can empty your brain completely, get crazy and wild in your imagination. The sky is the limit. Why? Because in this step the goal is to produce as many ideas as possible. Here it is all about quantity - not evaluating or judging ideas. 


As a lot of energy is needed for those two phases, today it was crucial for the coaches to provide as many sweets to their teams as possible and to also make sure to take them outside for creative breaks.


The day concluded with narrowing down and selecting one idea per team and for those staying together in the lodge also with a big celebration of this important milestone. 

What‘s the best day of the week? Prototyping Day! This is the time to re-discover the child in you. It was great fun to watch how creative and enthusiastic the teams got about their products while building them, and what they made out of the limited material they had available.


Here and there the Junior Coaches had to remind their students that they should not build them to perfection - as many tend to include too much functionality at this early stage. When Testing the prototypes with your users, you want to put the focus on how they interact with your prototype. Put emphasis on the key functionality of your product and don’t distract your test users with too many features or details. This way you will most likely get more and better feedback for your next iteration.


This is exactly what the teams did after their first prototypes were ready: go out, test, come back and iterate…find some snapshots of the day below.