USA meets Berlin: Exchange on Strategic Design Thinking in Teaching

Lecturers from the USA visiting design akademie berlin

In May, design akademie berlin welcomed Julie Benesh, PhD, Department Chair, Business Psychology-Online and Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Luann Drolc Fortune, PhD Faculty, Specialization Coordinator College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences at Saybrook University, for a professional exchange on the topic of Strategic Design Thinking in teaching. 

The two lecturers from the USA were particularly interested in how design thinking is practised at the design akademie berlin and the SRH and how they can apply these approaches in their own curricula and subject areas. Even though design thinking has its origins in product development, it is increasingly being used today in business and social innovation and as an approach to solving complex problems. "Design Thinking is a language, which enables team members to talk with each other - Design Thinking is an innovation language" (Prof. Dr. Julia Leihener, design akademie berlin).

Julie Benesh and Luann Drolc Fortune received input on strategic design thinking from Prof. Katrin Androschin and Prof. Julia Leihener as well as from students at M.A. Strategic Design.  Among other things, they took part in the "Strategic Design Futures Workshop" - a current innovation project of the Master's programme. At the same time, the two received an introduction to the CORE learning model and exchanged views on business psychology and online teaching. Further work sessions on various topics took place with experts from design akademie berlin such as Prof. Gilbert Beronneau, Dean of the Design Department, Prof. Markus Wente, Dean of the Communication Department, and Fabian Gampp, Lecturer in Social Innovation & User Experience Design. 

Julie Benesh and Luann Drolc Fortune shared their findings on Strategic Design Thinking in an international video conference with round about 30 participants from the USA. A recording of the webinar can be accessed online. First learnings were already implemented directly after the exchange: Dr. Fortune now uses design thinking techniques in her work with her doctoral students, for example.

The exchange was made possible by the TCS Global Engangement Grant. Both The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Saybrook University are part of the TCS Education System, with which SRH cooperates across universities.