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





Integrating Design Thinking Methods into Public Sector Innovation.

In the last decades design has become increasingly recognized as a driver of economic growth. Communication, interaction, product, game and fashion are only a few examples of well-known design disciplines, where designers have successfully used their specific expertise and approaches to create innovation. But the world has become increasingly complex and design has begun to analyse its unique approaches and qualities to tackle problems. Highly complex problems, usually in form of social or cultural challenges, e.g. poverty, sustainability, health, wellness or equality, where many stakeholders with conflicting perspectives are involved, where a multitude of shifting and unfamiliar elements are encountered and where the problem itself is very difficult to define, are labelled with the term “wicked problems”. Design today, with its unique methods and processes, looks way beyond traditional design tasks and has become a crucial contributor to problem solving strategies, in particular when tackling “wicked problems”, where other established innovation processes struggle on their own. In “Design Thinking” these intellectual and practical design qualities are formalized and combined into a methodology, that emphasizes empathy, ethnographic research, abductive reasoning, playful ideation, and prototyping with rapid testing cycles to provide a structured, yet creative and agile approach to innovation. The field of design today is not only successful in the pursuit of the development of communication and products, but also of services and systems. For instance, designers apply their knowledge and problem solving skills to create e.g. innovative social media communications, they develop products which truly make a difference in peoples’ lives, they invent new meaningful service experiences and they strategically plan new systems and environments to help citizens to actively engage in their communities. An increasing number of private organizations have understood what significant value Design Thinking and its processes can add to their competitive capacity. Yet, in the public sector only very few countries have begun to utilize design-driven methods in order to support innovation within public services. Denmark, France, Australia and the UK are some examples where Design Thinking is considered as a new means to approach innovation projects within the public sector. The Design Thinking For Public Good Conference 2015 in Munich strives to create attention for Design Thinking theory and practice, and aims to connect practitioners from private and public organizations in order to facilitate exchange and to foster learning. Prof. Oliver Szasz, Vice Head Graduate School Munich of Macromedia University, invites to this international Design Thinking symposium with expert presentations, workshops and panel discussions. Participants will get the opportunity to explore theory and practice: from methodologies and conceptual models to hands-on techniques and examples of successfully implemented public innovation cases from around the world.

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