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Getting out of the silos

IMG_5314“When you distribute the burden, everyone becomes more creative, and more open,”says Uli Weinberg, the director of the School of Design Thinking at Hasso-Plattner-Institute, who just made a solid case for interdisciplinary teamwork here at OpenLab. As individuals, we’re limited to what we can accomplish in problem-solving, he says.

Programs like D-School at HPI are aiming to do better, using a model that is builds on the adage, “two heads are better than one.” D-School at HPI has been in operation for about 8 years and has not only taken on the problems of sponsoring companies, but has generated student start-ups as well.

What is Design Thinking? It’s a method of encouraging collaborative creativity to solve problems in a holistically and user-centered way. It’s about breaking out of silos and linear thinking, he says. You combine small teams of perhaps six people from different disciplines — say, life science, engineering, and creative disciplines — and let them work in the iterative design process at a flexible work space.

“We asked companies to give us their problems, the challenges they face,” Weinberg says. “(But) we don’t focus on tech or business; we focus on human values — the changes and needs of people, because they are radical.”

David Callahan


David Callahan
David Callahan is editor for international news and media at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.