Innovate Design Thinking Kritik Design at Business Global Summit _ Design Thinking Amsterdam

Design at Business Global Summit – Do we need to innovate Design Thinking?

Happy to have received this year’s invitation of Design at Business Global Summit, which was hosted by Philipps Design Center and partnered by SAP, Nestlé, Design Thinking Center, Mural and the DMN from the Netherlands, I headed to Amsterdam in the last days of May. The summit brought together inspiring people from various industries, universities and agencies and put its main focus on attendees of corporate corporations.

Topic of this year’s event was the question weather Design Thinking is already in the need of a 2.0 version. At the moment this innovation method is widely spread and adopted by corporates, academics and organizations. The mind-set of design thinking is well implemented in several companies. For others the innovation method is still unknown and they are seeking ways how to implement the new thinking into their business strategy. The third group of adopters already learnt from their first experiences and are restarting the system.

Do we need to innovate Design Thinking?

Given this wide range of adopters the 3-day summit tried to provide answers to all these stakeholders. Located in the Design Thinking Center of Amsterdam, run by Nexview, the summit format was a variety of well curated keynotes with inspirational input. The combination with ambitious workshops facilitated by Philips moderators generated opportunities, ideas and new concepts to be adopted in organizations. The focus laid on the cultural change and how to cope with management boards.

Besides others Marco Steinberg from Snowcome & Heaystack gave an insight view into “How governments could tackle societal challenges.” on the first day of the summit. He stated that our political systems do not fit the new, rapid changes of society anymore. Thus, there is a radical need and pressure for adoption on behalf of  classical parties. Otherwise parties with extreme views will take over due to unsatisfied citizens. The big question remains “Which ways could be used by the  government to redesign the system?” or is revolution the only means.

How could governments tackle societal challenges?

On the 2nd day, Christine Wank started with a great warm up of Theory U. My Team and I were once again  group and me again amazed how powerful warm-ups can be to break the ice between unknown team participants and foster the process of innovation. I am personally passionate about warm-ups and I deeply believe in their power to create innovative teams while implementing new innovation methods. Later on Christine gave a theoretical introduction into the innovation method Theory U and the experiences she made.

From Design Thinking to re-invention

One the 3rd day, Christina Taylor from Creaholic held a thrilling presentation with valuable advices and schemes about “From Design Thinking to re-invention.” at Swisscom. She concluded that for companies, as well as individuals, re-invention is becoming the most important skill to master, and that design thinking provides the perfect learning, language, methods and tools to master this challenge. This reminded me very strongly of a General Electric’s (GM) study from 2011, where GM stated that “The way companies will innovate in the 21st century is totally different than the way they have innovated in the past.”

Next to other groups, my team developed a “Refugee Opportunity Generator”. This new idea mainly combines issues of refugees and stakeholders so that new ideas could be developed easily from different perspectives to solve typical challenges of integration. It was amazing to see how the group designed the idea in only 20 minutes and already generated some promising ideas.

And of course we had very nice trip and a lot of fun with Plastic Whale floating on the canals of Amsterdam doing Plastic Fishing. This idea is so worth to be spread and similar to the idea of Frokka which I worked out in my former Digital Agency.

During the packed program, I talked to Ulrich Weinberg from HPI about projects of implementing Design Thinking into German schools. It quickly became obvious that we share the same thoughts due to the fact that our kids are in the same age and are visiting German schools. We were both wondering about the ways in which our kids are being prepared for upcoming challenges of society, in the German education system. The German school-system still works like it did 100 years ago and there seems to be no wind of change.

All in all, the Design at Business Global Summit gave great insights into and a status of the adoption of Design Thinking. Especially the many profound talks and the active innovation formats with design thinking professionals formed a strong community and have been very fruitful to share own experiences and comparing these with other individuals and companies

What is for sure is that re-inventing business will not happen by pressing a red button to run some design thinking workshops. To reinvent their business, companies need at least 3-5 years, given that they already have a high degree of digital maturity.

See you next year at Design at Business Global Summit.

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