Design Thinking Hands-On Workshop in Freiburg

05.03.2013 in EnglishEvents  von Katrin Mathis

Engaging in Service Design for the last couple of years I had quickly come across Design Thinking. I had read a lot about it and applied some of its principles to my work whenever possible but had never experienced the whole design thinking process in one piece. So when I read about a design thinking workshop in Munich I decided to use this opportunity to deepen my knowledge. That is where I met Daniel Bartel who lead the workshop last August.


Immediately after the workshop I asked him whether he could imagine holding another workshop in Freiburg but I had second thoughts on whether we would be able to reach the minimum number of participants in Freiburg where not many events like this take place. Only after discussing the idea with Nicole Armbruster on the train to the Usability Day in Stuttgart and after United Planet had agreed to provide one of their rooms our plans took form.


On Friday 1 March 18 participants gathered at the stylish United Planet training center.

The whole Design Thinking process in less than one our

Following an introduction into the Design Thinking methodology participants were challenged to sketch their ideal purse.

Design Thinking workshop mit Daniel Bartel

After this first individual exercise, they teamed up into pairs of two and partners showed their current wallet and other payment solutions they used and were interviewed about their needs and pain points.

Design Thinking interviews

Their needs and emotions as well as surprising insights were combined in a point of view that laid the ground for sketching between three and ten ideas in only five minutes. 

Design Thinking ideation process with visual thinking

Sharing their sketches participants were able to iterate their ideas based on the feedback before they got their hands dirty and turned bags of handicraft material into tangible prototypes that their partners could interact with.

Design Thinking rapid prototyping

In less than one hour the whole process that usually takes several weeks was run through with a TimeTimer and the stroke of the gong as a constant time constraint.


Thinking about a mundane object that is usually not given much thought about it quickly turned out that many participants share similar pain points such as organizing two currencies in the border region to Switzerland, loosing change or limited flexibility. Some of these could be fixed quite easily for example by using magnets instead of zippers and what had started as sketches of conventional wallets had in many teams even turned into something completely else such as wallets as fashion accessories.

A foundation for more workshops in Freiburg?

I had been totally blown away when the workshop was sold out in less than three weeks even before I had invited everybody on my list. This workshop has proven that there is interest in Freiburg for such events. I am excited to see Smashing Magazine launch a new series of workshops in Freiburg and hope for more opportunities for knowledge exchange that we could in my opinion all benefit from. In fact, the wait list for the workshop is long enough to start planning a second workshop in Freiburg soon. If you are interested please fill out this form




Katrin Mathis, UX Konzepterin und Service Designerin aus Freiburg

Katrin Mathis
MBA in Service Innovation & Design und BSc in OnlineMedien berät seit über 10 Jahren Unternehmen, die digitale Transformation zum Nutzen ihrer Kunden einzusetzen.


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