Design Thinking

Develop innovative solutions for complex problems

HPI School of Design Thinking

The HPI School of Design Thinking (HPI D-School) is part of the joint Digital Engineering Faculty of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and the University of Potsdam, Germany.

The HPI D-School is a sister institution of the schools of design thinking at Stanford University (USA) and the University of Cape Town (South Africa). As a leading academic institution, it trains students, graduates, and professionals in multidisciplinary, collaborative teamwork in order to develop innovative solutions for complex problems.

In collaboration with partner organizations from industry, society, and politics, student teams create human-centered products, services, and business models. A team of experienced design thinking coaches from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds accompany the students in their team projects.

The HPI D-School has a unique learning environment with state-of-the-art collaboration spaces and equipment. In addition to offering academic programs, the HPI D-School conducts research in the fields of design thinking, innovation, and leadership.




Design thinking at the University of Cape Town

Right now in Africa, there is only one place dedicated exclusively to teaching design thinking – and it is located in the southernmost city on the continent, Cape Town.

The Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking at the University of Cape Town (UCT), more commonly known as d-school, was founded in 2015. It offers a wide range of programs mostly intended for students registered at tertiary institutions across South Africa but is also open to nationals of other countries.

The d-school currently runs its programs from the campus of its academically respected host, the University of Cape Town. The creative studio is located at the university’s Graduate School of Business, which enjoys a view of Table Mountain thanks to its V&A Waterfront site.

The d-school’s student-focused Design Thinking Week is a shorter four-day version of its 12-week Foundation Program in Design Thinking. The 12-week course is offered to postgraduate students registered at institutions of higher learning anywhere in South Africa.

In the professional realm, the d-school offers module courses to the university’s MBA students, who are likely to re-enter the world of work armed with new ways of solving complex problems.

The d-school has already started reaching out to various networks through its work in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Morocco. It has also partnered with Mauritian-based universities to offer design thinking to MBA students living in that country.


Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University

The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University in California was founded to prepare a generation of innovators to tackle complex challenges. Referred to as the, the institute brings together students and faculty in engineering, medicine, business, law, the humanities, sciences, and education to develop innovative, human-centered solutions to real-world challenges.

The creation of the Stanford jump-started the world-wide movement of design thinking in higher education, sparking many new degree programs, institutes, and entities in colleges and universities. This enthusiasm has spread to all levels of education, as well as the governmental, social and private sectors. A hub for innovators at Stanford, the builds on methods from across the field of design to create learning experiences that help people unlock their creative potential and apply it to the world.

Through a rigorous hands-on curriculum, students gain practice in eight core design abilities so that they might develop their own creative confidence and also inspire others, take risks, and persevere through tough projects throughout their lives.