Stanford School of Engineering to Study Process of Innovation

Joining with Hasso-Plattner-Institute the partnership will use Design Thinking.

Stanford University and the Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI) on August 19 created a research partnership in which they will investigate the process of innovation using Design Thinking, a methodology that melds an end-user focus with multidisciplinary collaboration and iterative improvement to produce products, services or experiences.

"We are interested in the Design Thinking method of innovation, which has been successfully taught at both institutions. Through joint scientific research projects we want to find out which factors ultimately contribute to the success of this kind of engineered and creative development of innovation for all areas of life," said HPI Professor Hasso Plattner, who is providing the funding for the eight-year, $16 million joint research program.

At Stanford the research will be directed by Mechanical Engineering Professor Larry Leifer, who directs the Center for Design Research. "The time is right to apply rigorous academic research to understand how, when and why Design Thinking works to accelerate human-centered innovation, Leifer said. It is time to create the next generation Design Thinking methodology and supporting technology and we appreciate Professor Plattner's support of this endeavour."

Individual research projects will be funded with up to $150,000 annually. Among other issues, the projects will investigate how the Design Thinking method can be integrated with traditional approaches common in the technical realm and how spatial and temporal boundaries can be overcome in the cooperation of geographically dispersed development teams. The Stanford and HPI researchers also interested the role interdisciplinary cooperation plays in the development of innovative systems, how cultural factors influence the work of Design Thinking teams, and how individual impulses can promote inventive processes in a team.

About the Hasso Plattner Institute and Design Thinking

Science patron Professor Hasso Plattner, 64, is co-founder and chairman of the supervisory board of the global software company SAP. In 1999 he endowed the Potsdam Hasso-Plattner-Institute for IT Systems Engineering (www.hpi-web.de). In 2007 it was expanded by the HPI School of Design Thinking (www.hpi-web.de/d-school). The institution cooperates closely with the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University in Palo Alto ("Silicon Valley"). The latter is also known as "d.school" (www.stanford.edu/group/dschool) and is part of the Stanford School of Engineering.

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