Design Thinking and Innovation Workshop

Explore your creative potential and learn how to use it

> Target audienceKey benefitsKey topicsMeet the staff

Organizations and companies strive to become more innovative: New products may attract new customer groups and increase revenues. Improvements in processes may lead to greater organizational efficiency. Yet, many innovations never materialize, because executives and decision-makers do not have the right tools and techniques at hand to explore and to implement their ideas.

This 1-day workshop is intended to encourage participants to explore their creative potential, and learn how to use it. They will get acquainted with methods to encourage and facilitate collective creative thinking in a structured way.

The workshop focuses on customer-centric innovation, largely based on the proven and globally successful methodology of Design Thinking. In small groups of 4-6 participants, participants experience each of the six steps of Design Thinking. They perform interviews with potential customers, distill their insights into a semi-fictitious persona, use different brainstorming methods for idea generation, engage in rapid prototyping and testing, and present their innovation in a pitch.


Target audience

Executives from business development, strategy, marketing, and sales who seek to initiate or lead innovation processes, as well as manage new innovation sources and channels within their business.


Key benefits

Based on the idea that innovation can take place in every organizational context, participants will turn into facilitators when they return to their businesses or respective administrative units. They will obtain the didactical equipment to implement customer-centric innovation in their own organizations and teams. Experience has shown that this functions best if they pass through each step of the Design Thinking process in a hands-on workshop, using concrete challenges of their business and organizations as the base for inspiration and motivation.

The workshop particularly addresses individuals from companies and organizations that have put innovation on top of their agenda and have embarked on a leadership journey towards a change in their corporate culture. After the workshop, participants should be able to transfer a substantial portion of the tools and techniques into their work environment and apply them successfully.


Key topics

  • Customer-centricity and creativity
  • Building empathy and leaving the comfort zone
  • Becoming creative
  • Developing a medium of communication with the customer
  • Interacting with the customer
  • Pitch training and presentation of innovations
  • Transfer of learnings to own organizational context


Meet the teaching staff

Dr. Jens Weinmann

Dr. Jens Weinmann is a Program Director at ESMT Berlin. He runs ESMT’s open enrollment workshop “Innovation as a corporate model”. He has been Chairman of the Judging Committee at the Product Innovation Awards of European Utility Week, and is a mentor at Startupbootcamp Berlin, an accelerator focusing on innovations in energy and transport.

Jens Weinmann's research focuses on the analysis of strategic decision-making in corporations with respect to innovation, regulation, and competition policy, with a special interest in energy and transport. Together with his colleague Christoph Burger, he published the book “The decentralized energy revolution – business strategies for a new paradigm” at Palgrave-Macmillan, and regularly releases editions of the “ESMT Innovation Index – electricity supply industry”.

He graduated in energy engineering (Dipl.-Ing.) at the Technical University Berlin and received his PhD in Decision Sciences from London Business School. His academic experience includes fellowships at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and the Florence School of Regulation, European University Institute. He has been trained in Design Thinking by Hasso Plattner Institute and is a certified SCRUM Master.


Bianca Schmitz

Bianca Schmitz is a Program Director and Head of International Executive Education Relationships at ESMT Berlin.

She is responsible for establishing new international cooperations with other business schools, institutions or networks, such as the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) or UNICON.

Her focus lies in agile innovation processes. She has been trained in Design Thinking by Hasso Plattner Institute and is a certified SCRUM Master as well as a certified SCRUM Product Owner.

She studied Regional Sciences of Latin America at the University of Cologne and finished with a diploma in microeconomics. Her focus was on economics and Spanish language.

Bianca worked for three years at the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS), a non-profit organization based in Cologne, Germany, with chapters throughout the world. She was responsible for the sections in Latin America and Spain, assistant to the Management Board, and responsible for the biannual congress together with Koelnmesse, IPC, IOC, and other recognized institutions.

Bianca’s international profile is supplemented by a two-year working experience in Spain as Asistente Comercial.