Designing Positive Futures – Social Business Innovation – a Research and Development Project to Support Integration of Syrian Refugees

Designing Positive Futures – Social Business Innovation – a Research and Development Project to Support Integration of Syrian Refugees

I initiated a R&D project with students from the master program M.A. Design Management at Macromedia University in Munich in order to create awareness of the opportunities of design thinking to support innovation processes for social businesses and non-profit organizations. I invited therefore Syrian refugees in Munich to volunteer for the qualitative research activities by master students and to actively participate in co-creation workshops.

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design strategy conference at Hypovereinsbank with ItalCam and Bayern Design

Design Strategy Conference with Italian Chamber of Commerce and Bayern Design

HypoVereinsbank-UniCredit invited renowned design companies from Italy and Germany to  discuss design as a driver for economy. Supported by Bayern Design and ItalCam (Italian Chamber of Commerce), the event featured CEOs and art directors from companies such as Alessi (Marco Pozzo), Illycaffè (Carlo Bach), Pininfarina Extra (Francesco Lovo), Tobias Grau (Tobias Grau, Axor (Stefan Hoske), and ClassiCon (Oliver S. Holy). Also part of the conversation was Angelika Müller (H.O.M.E. and DOMUS). Moderated by Barbara Friedrich.

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Design Thinking project presentation at Rachel Carson Center

Presenting Design Thinking Research Project at Rachel Carson Center

Being invited at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC) in Munich to present a student research and development project. A team of students in my Interdisciplinary Project class from the MA Design Management program investigated opportunities and issues when trying to motivate and activate Munich citizens to actively participate in protecting their environment, particularly looking into climate change. The highly challenging project was executed by students coming from diverse location such as India, USA and Germany. The result was using Gamification in order to attract citizens’ attention and galvanize the attentive public into action.

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dmi Symposium Munich

dmi:Symposium – Smart Innovation: Connecting Design to Strategy

The first Design Management Institute symposium in Munich took place at the conference center at BMW Welt. I met the dmi’s president Carole Bilson at the DMI Design Management Conference in Amsterdam, from 23-25 May 2016. Since dmi never had provided a conference in Munich, I proposed a design management symposium with the aim to bring the conversation about design-driven innovation and design thinking as a driver of innovation to organizations in Bavaria, particularly to engineering-driven SMEs. I also supported the dmi team as part of the planning team and with local sponsorship raising efforts, which ended with the partnership with bayern design and sponsorships by Macromedia UniversityChamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria (IHK), GE Healthcare and frog. Additionally, I provided a breakout session during the symposium with the topic: Being Human in Times of Digital Transformation: The Power of Design-Driven Innovation. Further information below and here.

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DMI Design Leadership Conference Boston, MA

dmi: Design Leadership Conference Boston, MA (DLC16)

Just came back from another excellent DMI conference, this time the DMI Design Leadership conference in Boston, MA. The distinguished keynote speaker was Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe Distinguished Professor, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Marvin Bower Fellow, Harvard Business School.

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DMI Design Management Conference Amsterdam 2016

dmi: Design Management Conference Europe, Amsterdam, 2016

I attended the the DMI Design Management Conference in Amsterdam, 23-25 May 2016. The theme was “Inside Out / Outside In” and focused on the ways in which the internal workings of an organization expresses itself through products and services, as well as how external influences can impact an organization internally. There was an impressive line-up of international speakers from various industries.


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Ethereum presentation at Macromedia University

Ethereum 101 – Trustless, decentralized, smart contracts

Dr. Christian Reitwiessner, Team Lead Ethereum and co-designer and lead implementor of Solidity, introduced Ethereum during an event organized by Michael Reuter,  CEO Datarella and a lecturer I usually share Design Management M.A. master classes at Macromedia University.

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Designing Digital Futures –speaker list

Designing Digital Futures – symposium for digitalisation, design research and design-driven innovation.

The symposium on 22 Feb 2016 explored scenarios of a digital future from a multitude of perspectives.

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Designing Digital Futures - Symposium by Oliver Szasz

Designing Digital Futures – One-day Symposium for digitial transformation and design

I am currently organizing a one-day symposium about digital transformation and design with the title: Designing Digital Futures. The free Macromedia University event is going to take place at oskar von Miller Forum in Munich, Mon. 22nd of February 2016. I invite all participants to immerse thoroughly in the topic of digital transformation and humanity: What effect has the digital transformation on our society? Is humanity really at stake as many fear, or does an upcoming “Big Data and Robotic Age” rather offer a stimulus to evaluate human qualities and to scrutinize what it means to be human in the 21st century?

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Design Management and Design Thinking Oliver Szasz

Design Management and Design Thinking

Design Management has become a central focus in today’s organizations, because incorporating effective innovation processes in order to be able to create successful new products and services, as well as better productivity and performance has increased the likelihood of a business succeeding in a global and highly competitive environment. Design-driven innovation processes are based on a profound understanding of customers’ or users’ needs, wants and aspirations – found in the human-centred Design Thinking methodology. This approach can not only support the development of successful new products and services, but supports empowerment of employees to think innovatively through all levels in an organisation, drive inspirational leadership and support change in an age of digital transformation and complex problems.

Full presentation on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztjCHz-r1ZY

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Netnography Insights - © Hyve Research

Research Futures – The Power of Innovation Research

I will host an event about innovative approaches in qualitative and quantitative market and consumer/user research. Invited is Hyve Innovation Research, a company based in Munich. They approach research questions with new methods such as Online Research Communities, Social Media Analytics and Netnography Insights. They turn customers and users from passive recipients to active collaborators and actively involve them into innovation processes. This approach fits very well in the Design Thinking methodology by providing an exchange of knowledge and opinions throughout the design process. I have begun to work very closely with Hyve Innovation Research to utilize their expertise and tools in complex and wicked problem situations.

What: Free event – Macromedia Talk, Munich: Research Futures – The Power of Innovation Research

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Wearable Data Hack 2015 OLiver Szasz

Wearable Data Hack 2015, Munich – Designer meet Hackers

Together with Datarella and Stylight I am co-organizing the first Wearable Data Hack weekend in Munich.


Experience the first Wearable Data Hack event in Munich in the fabulous offices space from Stylight and become part of a creative team that makes the most out of the emerging smart watch and wearable tech market. The Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015 will be the first occasion for most of the participants to share their views and ideas and jointly gather experience with the new data realm. Datarella, Stylight and Macromedia University invite hackers and designers to meet each other, to discuss and find ways of using data in order to tell the people’s lives and create examples of socially relevant technology.

The event is free of charge, but only 100 participants can attend. Please register now: wearabledatahack.com


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Design For Europe Summit Brussels 2015 - Oliver Szasz

European Growth by Design Summit 2015 Brussels

The organization Design For Europe had their first summit at The Square in Brussels. It was a great event with a focus on design-driven innovation and user-focused improvement for business, the public sector and policymaking. Design for Europe is bringing together the latest tools, techniques and success stories of innovation. The summit offered a range of high profile speakers from diverse organizations, universities and companies to discuss the potential of design-led approaches to innovation processes.

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European Growth by Design Summit Brussels 2015 Oliver Szasz

European Growth by Design 2015 in Brussels

I will be on the European Growth by Design summit in Brussels all day May 7, 2015. I am very much looking forward to it, because it will provide an opportunity to discuss how design can boost innovation and create economic growth across Europe. Have a look: http://designforeurope.eu/events/european-growth-design. Photo: Design for Europe

Design Thinking for Public Good symposium 2015 Oliver Szasz

Launch of Design Thinking for Public Good Symposium Event Video

A short video has been recently published on YouTube about the Design Thinking for Public Good 2015 symposium, I organized back in Feb. 2015 at Macromedia University. I am still proud of this event, which allowed me to invite various renowned organizations and speakers from UK, Denmark, France and USA. It captures the knowledge exchange atmosphere beautifully and provides an impression about the event. many thanks again for the support of NESTA UK, MindLab Denmark, La 27e Région, France, Hyve Innovation, Munich and Richard Buchanan from Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, USA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_ArEvLr9Ls

Oliver Szasz Keynote design Thinking BLM 2015

Keynote on Design Thinking at Media.Innovations Day 2015

I was invited to hold a keynote speech on Design Thinking and innovation at Media.Innovations Day 2015 at Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting (BLM). Check out BLM’s Media.Innovations Day 2015 website: http://medienpuls-bayern.de/events/730#medien. Photo: BLM

MOOC Design Thinking – Second Iteration – starting 15 April 2015

The MOOC design Thinking is running a second time, this time it will feature a multiple-choice exam. To register visit: https://iversity.org/en/courses/design-thinking

Innovation Symposium: Design Thinking for Public Good, 26 February 2015, Macromedia University, Munich

I am currently organizing the innovation symposium Design Thinking for Public Good. The one-day symposium will take place at Macromedia University in Munich 26 February 2015. Distinguished speakers from theory and practice inform about global trends and challenges in public sector innovation through Design Thinking. The event will feature presentations, workshops and panel discussions, and is funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology. It is organized in partnership with NESTA UK and supported by Design For Europe, MindLab Denmark, Innovation lab La 27e Région France and HYVE Innovation Group Germany.


Free Event, registration required:



Download the symposium program:

Design Thinking for Public Good program


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OECD Conference in Paris: Innovating the Public Sector

I attended the OECD conference Innovating the Public Sector: From Ideas to Impact in November 2014 in Paris. Innovation was not only the theme but also the modus operandi of the conference which brought together over 300 participants from over forty countries from the public, private, academic and civil society sectors.


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Re-design Design Education/Philosophic Concepts Conference – Jiangnan University, School of Design, Wuxi, China, 2014

“Re-design Design Education” conference has been held the third time in 2014 to reflect issues in education as well as practice based on the changing landscape of design research.


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design for public good

Design for Public Good

Design has begun to play a crucial role in services. This has also led to a rise in new design disciplines which focus on the design for service experiences in global systems. Understanding consumer and user needs is undoubtedly one of the key drivers to design and to provide sophisticated service offerings.


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> Beyond Design Thinking – is Design Thinking a failed experiment?

Read what Kevin McCullagh (Founder, Plan) has to say about his critical view on Design Thinking and why he believes, that Design Thinking has capabilities which are not easy to be mastered.

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> Designing Business Book – available from Nov. 2014

In Nov. 2014 the Designing Business book by Jurgen Faust and Sabine Junginger will be published by Berg Publishers. I have contributed a paper about the evolution from craft to design and from design to design thinking, and its implications on design education.

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> In conversation with Professor Ezio Manzini from the Politecnico di Milano

Great lecture by Professor Ezio Manzini during Munich Creative Business Week 2013. I had the chance for a long chat with him personally after his presentation and to learn more about his DESIS network (Design for Social Innovation towards Sustainability)

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